Balfour Makes It Scary, But A's Stave Off Angels' Late Rally to Split Series

I. Am. Awesome.

If you're going to the game tonight, Gio has a message for you:

Everyone who is coming out to the game tomorrow remember to show up wearing your Oakland gold.

For 26 outs of today's game, the A's were cruising nicely. It was the kind of game where you sort of smiled a lot; the starting pitching was near-perfect, the offense was timely and clutchy, and it looked like they wouldn't have to exert much effort to get a win to split the series. They even toyed with the icing on the cake; the game was one out from being a shutout.

In what was no doubt an expected event during this A's meltdown week, Grant Balfour turned out to be just as scary to watch as Brian Fuentes. At least Fuentes worked with very limited margins; Balfour very nearly blew a four-run lead in the ninth. My vote? Ziggy closes the games until we get Bailey back (and he's coming back soon, right? Right?).

The game started out rather promising for the green and gold. Brett Anderson retired the first ten batters he faced, finally allowing a single in the fourth. He would go on to pitch eight innings; allowing three hits and three walks.

The A's would score their first run in the second inning on back to back singles by Matsui and Suzuki. Ellis dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt (which I'd like to point out that I applauded soundly; when you are batting like a pitcher, I am all for sac bunts!) and Andy LaRoche came up with an RBI groundout.

LaRoche would double in two more in the fourth; plating Willingham and Ellis (both singled to get on). Pennington would single in LaRoche, and the scoring was done for the A's.

They would have had a nice, easy 4-0 win, but Balfour allowed a leadoff single to open the ninth. He struck out the next two batters (Abreu and Hunter), and walked Callaspo. Mark Trumbo promptly homered, scaring A's fans everywhere, and probably inciting murderous rage from Brett Anderson. The Angels' newest addition, Russell Branyan, came up to pinch-hit and took Coco practically to the warning track for the last out of the game.

But when all is said and done, the A's win the game 4-3, and split the series; a pretty fantastic and terrific outcome considering what we've been through this week. The A's crawl back home to open a series against Baltimore.

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