Reality is staring us in the face: Mark Ellis is leaving his early 30s, his slugging is declining with defense inevitably to follow. It may be wise not to pick up his 2011 option or even to bring him back at all in 2011. But when you see plays like the one that ended tonight's 3-1 win, the softie in you understands why Ken Korach recommended, a couple years ago, that the A's sign Ellis to a 40-year deal. It's good to have him on your side, especially when a ball is hit to the right side.
With Andrew Bailey struggling, perhaps not feeling 100% physically (Brad Ziegler was warming up), the tying run at the plate and winning run on deck represented by Joe Mauer, Matt Tolbert hit one sharply through the hole into RF. Short RF, that is, where Ellis flagged it down, spun, and whipped a strike to Daric Barton to end the game.
Brett Anderson was outstanding, nicked only for a Danny Valencia solo HR in his 6.2 IP, and Craig Breslow came up clutch in the 7th, coming in with the bases loaded, two out, and pinch hitter Mauer at the plate, retiring Mauer on a routine fly ball to LF.
On the offensive side, Jack Cust HRed, Cliff Pennington singled and doubled, Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp had two hits a piece, all outcomes Chris Carter can only dream of at this point. Carter's 0 for 3 night extended his futility to 0 for 27 to begin his major league career. Yes, sadly, major league baseball has pitched a combined no-hitter against the beast who isn't yet the best. Maybe tomorrow! Sigh.