The Two Jacks: A's 5, Orioles 1

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Jack watches and waits for one of Cust's homeruns to land in the rightfield seats.

Say what you will about the absolute value of the A's active roster or the sagacity of Beane's long-term rebuilding project, at least the A's are a far sight better than this Baltimore team.

Even after a few unsuccessful mound adventures of late, this transitional A's pitching staff usually keeps the A's in the game -- and does so by not dispensing walks with alarming frequency.

And despite the underpowered offense and the debatable (I agree with it, but many don't; hence, debatable) A's patient plate approach, the A's do have a plan when they come to the plate.

And even both teams started out this series with near-identical records, at least the A's baserunners aren't giving up entirely at the tail end of a likely -- but by no means guaranteed -- loss.

Yes, old friend Jay Payton, on first with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, either gave up entirely or "merely" forgot how many outs there were, and was doubled off when Rajai Davis hauled in a fly ball at the warning track.

And with that, the A's "swept" this weekend series (with the opener of today's doubleheader getting postponed, perhaps not to be rescheduled at all).

The story today for the A's started out as a continuation of last night's ugly affair, with Oriole starter Daniel Cabrera walking the bases loaded on the first three batters of the game. Jack Cust delivered a sac fly, and that was to be all the A's would make of the promising start to the inning.

As the game developed, though (and as A's starter Greg "Nibbles" Smith had his own control struggles, ultimately walking 5 in 7 shutout innings), the story turned to focus on the Two Jacks: Cust, who followed up his sac fly with a solo HR in the 3rd and one in the 4th (both prodigious, Custean blasts to deep RF), and Hannahan, who delivered a solo Jack of his own and made some exceptional plays at third, contributing greatly to keeping the Orioles' hit total down to 5 (only 3 off of Smith).

As Nico opined in the game thread, it's difficult to give Smith too much credit for pitching "well" when he's so consistently outside the zone. Yes, 7 shutout innings and only 3 hits -- but 5 walks and a 58:45 strike:ball ratio.

Some credit, as well, should go to Rajai Davis, who pitched in an RBI triple and ranged all over CF to haul in fly balls.

So tomorrow is an off-day (with today's not-doubleheader having been scheduled to avoid conflict with the Ravens game Sunday), and then the team is in Detroit on Monday.

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