Celebrate with Fireworks (and a Homerun!)

A winning streak? A chance at a sweep? All is possible after today’s victory, highlighted by Mark Ellis’s first HR of the year.

The game almost started out on a bad note, with Andinos leading the game off with a bunt single over Outman’s head, which was followed by a muffed double play ball by Kevin Kouzmanoff, resulting in no outs, and a man on 1st and 2nd. Outman would work his way out of it, though, picking off Andino and retiring the side.

The A’s got on the board in the 2nd inning, as Mark Ellis reached first and advanced to 2nd on a muffed play at first (a regular feature in this game), and was knocked in, by of all people, Kevin Kouzmanoff!

Unfortunately, the Orioles would respond in their next half, as Outman walked two and allowed a single by Adam Jones to tie the game.

The A’s would respond in the bottom of the inning, retaking the lead after Coco Crisp reached on yet another muffed ball at 1st base, stealing 2nd base, and scoring on a line drive single by Josh Willingham.

Yet again, however, the Orioles came back in the next half inning and tied the game on a single by Craig Tatum. Outman then proceeded to walk the bases loaded before striking out Jones.

But while the muff did not stop here, the scoring streak did in the 5th. Despite a leadoff single by Barton, and another muffed ball by the Orioles at first base, the A’s could not produce as Kurt Suzuki struck out looking on a 3-2 count to end the inning.

In the 6th inning, the A's rallied back, with Cliff Pennington hitting a ball down the left field line for a double. Crisp knocked him in on a sharp line drive single to center field, with Pennington sliding head first into home right before the tag to give the A's a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 8th, when Mark Ellis hit is aforementioned solo shot to left field to give the A’s an insurance run. That run almost proved useful, as Brian Fuentes closed out the 9th with a HBP of Adam Jones, and a defensive indifference before forcing Nick Markakis to pop out to Josh Willingham to end the game.

Observations:

  • Although Geren said that Balfour would be the closer, Balfour was came in the game in the 8th in his usual set up role, with Fuentes closing it out. This feels like almost another CYA situation with Geren, saying one thing while not meaning it. Who is the closer, anyways?
  • Hideki Matsui’s swing is really, really slow, almost as slow as his baserunning. Is Godzilla done, and if so, what should be done? Move Willingham to DH and Sweeney in the OF? Call up Cardenas to play LF?
  • Barton’s back in the lineup, still at the #2 slot, which I do not actually begrudge. I actually like Barton batting 2nd, and it is not like we have anyone better to put there. Barton went 1-2 today with 2 walks.
  • Speaking of muffing and struggling, Kevin Kouzmanoff surprisingly went 2-4 with an RBI.
  • Josh Outman’s performance tonight was actually rather worrisome. Although he went 6 innings with 2 Earned Runs, he only struck out two while allowing 6 hits and 5 walks. He needs to quickly get his control back unless he wants to be exploited next time out.
  • All in all, good night for AN, with a tailgate, a win and fireworks, despite the rain. There are few things more depressing than losing on Fireworks night. It’s like celebrating the other team’s win.

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