Split. Split second decisions. Splitting line drives between the fielders. Split series. What could have been a three-game winning streak, a solid close to a difficult road trip, and a pick me up for a team that hasn't had many of those this year fell apart in a few quick minutes in a disastrous bottom of the ninth which followed an agonizing top of the ninth which saw the A's storm out to a 5-3 lead despite more antics of baserunning tomfoolery, as Rajai Davis tried to singlehandedly make us forget about Jack Hannahan.
The A's were behind or tied practically all game, having falling back 2-0 in the second, tying it up in the 4th, falling behind in the 6th, and tying it one last time in the 8th. The momentary 2-run lead in the 9th seemed like a mirage to us run-starved win-hungry fans, and it was. To paraphrase one of the game thread memes, it was the Crystal Pepsi of leads.
Dallas Braden, who pitched like a "solid #2", according to Nico, pitched 7 strong innings of three-run ball, getting the quality start, and flashing the leather when he needed to. But the bullpen, one aspect of the A's that has been strong practically all season, collapsed faster than this week's ballot issues - as Bailey surrended a 2-run home run to tie the game in the final frame, and Ziggy let home the final tally.
Fittingly, the game-winning single bounded into Rajai's glove, and then out, as he stood in shallow center, watching the Rays put an exclamation point on their victory. And like that, the game was complete, and the A's tempting us with their promise was all hollow, for naught. The Crystal Pepsi of promise.