Final Score: A's 3, Mariners 2
Whatever the A's have against Gregorio Petit, the feeling does not seem to be mutual. In a Mike Rouse-esque 2009 debut, Petit went 3 for 4 with the game-winning single in the top of the 9th and had 4 terrific at bats.
The lone run off Cahill came in the 2nd on Russell Branyan's 6th HR of the season, and the A's trailed 1-0 until the 6th, when Giambi's two-out double scored Petit from first. After the Mariners retook the lead on Andrew Bailey in the 7th, the A's tied it in the 8th on another Giambi hit with Sweeney at third and two out - this one a single through the left side, with a swing that looked like it was directed at the undefended portion of the infield.
Then came the top of the 9th, tied 2-2. Crosby walked with one out and stole second with two out, at which point Petit lined a crisp single to Ichiro, who was playing shallow. It seems that after sending runners into the jaws of death repeatedly in April, Mike Gallego finally came to his senses and put up the stop sign. Crosby ignored it. Ichiro's throw beat Crosby by the proverbial country mile, but catcher Rob Johnson neglected the important detail of catching the ball and Crosby bowled over Johnson as Johnson braced himself and heroically held onto the ball he didn't have.
What stands out to me, along with Petit's superlative performance and the fact that Jack Cust stole a base (!!!), is how fortunate the A's were throughout the game. Trevor Cahill danced through raindrops for 6 innings, allowing just one run despite surrendering 7 hits and 3 BB, including a homerun and a foul "would be 2-run HR" by Jose Lopez that missed chipping paint off the foul pole by inches. Cahill was also helped by the fact that Seattle made 3 outs on the bases, including Endy Chavez getting thrown out at home on Adrian Beltre's 4th inning double, on a perfect relay from Rajai Davis to Orlando Cabrera to Kurt Suzuki.
One final note. Following my scathing indictment of Bob Geren's tactical moves so far this year I should note that I thought Geren managed an excellent game. Smart moves, IMO, included using Andrew Bailey for 2 innings when the game was on the line, getting Wuertz ready to pitch the 9th even if the game stayed tied (sometimes you just have to put your best available pitcher in there and work backwards, rather than saving someone for a save situation that may never arrive if you don't get outs now), turning Rajai Davis (caught stealing) and Bobby Crosby (successful stealing) loose with two out and singles-hitting Petit up, pinch-hitting Buck and using Hannahan for defense when and as he did, and so on. Well done, and a big win for the A's to even their career Chez Nico record at 2-2.