Landon Powell entered today's game 400 career HRs behind Jason Giambi, and he still is. Despite putting 8 runners on base in the first 5 innings against Jon Garland, the A's were shutout, and trailied 1-0, going to the 6th. That's when singles by Sweeney and Crosby put runners at first and third, at which point Garland uncorked the first of two key wild pitches in today's game. Then Powell launched his first major league HR, a two-run shot that ended what had been an afternoon of frustration for the offense and gave Oakland a 3-1 lead. Hearing footsteps, Giambi clubbed career HR #401 in the 7th to make it 4-1.
Meanwhile, "contact" and "going deep" were also the name of the game for lefty Josh Outman. Outman turned in the A's longest starting effort of the season, 7.2 IP, yet he did not record a strikeout. How do you survive a start in which you walk 5 batters and don't strike any out? 4 DPs is how.
With an unearned run scoring in the top of the 8th, Outman turned a 4-2 lead over to the bullpen and after Michael Wuertz finished the 8th, before once again a wild pitch proved to be the Diamondbacks' undoing. In the bottom of the 8th, Powell was at second, relegated to "slightly slower than Bengie Molina" status due to his bad hamstring, with Cabrera at first and two out and Adam Kennedy at the plate. That's when Esmerling Vasquez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Powell to limp over to third and Cabrera to trot down to second. Kennedy then lined a one-hop single to LF, scoring two runs instead of the zero it would have plated but for the wild pitch.
I thought today's outing was a step forward and a step backwards for Josh Outman. He had no consistent command of his fastball or his changeup or his slider (which he hardly threw), and the 5BB : 0K ratio tells you a ton. On the flip side, though, Outman did hang in there to go nearly 8 full innings and was able to get ground balls when he really needed them. So I'll call it a "gritty effort I wouldn't recommend trying to duplicate."
Meanwhile, Adam Kennedy's average sits at .400 after 55 ABs and there is joy in Oakland for at least one day.