"From where I was at after the All-Star break to what's transpired, it's a good feeling."
- Brett Tomko
Alas, that feeling of good came to an abrupt halt just two batters into tonight's game, when Franklin Gutiérrez- the infamous Franklin Gutiérrez- cranked a home run with Ichiro on base in front of him to make it 2-0 before most of the twelve fans in attendance had a chance to find better seats.
Four batters later Bill Hall- can there be a more boring baseball name?- followed an Adrián Béltre two-bagger with a no-doubt-about-it blast to left, and just like that the A's were four runs in the red. It was Hall's first American League homerun.
Suddenly those ugly-uniformed pigskin carriers were looking fairly decent as a sports alternative.
"Not so fast", said the Home Nine, who thanks to a two-run base knock by their handsome devil of a catcher Kurt Suzuki, cut the lead in half in their first time at the bat. With two men aboard and two out in the second, Ryan Sweeney grounded out to short to end the inning. Except that he didn't.
Jack Wilson's (or was it Josh?) underhand throw went over the head of second baseman José López, allowing Adam Kennedy to touch home plate with Oakland's third run.
In the fourth Brett Tomko officially turned back into Brett Tomko, as Kenji Johjima drilled a two-run homerun, his seventh of the season, and third off these very A's.
The game stayed at 6-3 until after the stretch when Daric Barton turned on a Mark Lowe fastball and drilled it to deep right in the eighth, only to see the Mariners get that run back in the ninth on a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze by that man Gutiérrez to score former Athletic Jack Hannahan.
While there was a tease thread (for my own selfish reasons), the A's barely showed any skin in the ninth, going down quietly against David Aardsma, who earned his 34th save of the campaign.
Only four more 67M threads left for 2009, not counting games that extend past the A's season.