An excellent game is how I can describe it. Back in their Home town, the A's came to life tonight. Yes, there were many squandered opportunities, but the offense did indeed try to do their best, and eventually broke through to win the game 4-1. Things almost went awry in the 8th, however, as Cahill went an inning too far. More on that later. What is good is that the A's won a game against a strong opponent, a strong pitcher, strong defense and with the help of some strong prospects. Good Game.
The Phillies struck first, and this was shockingly one of the few games I watched where I did not feel that going down 1-0 was a death nail to the team. Hamels' control was shaky, and the lineup somehow showed signs of life. The Phillies got men on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs, and a single knocked in the game's first run, and left the Phils in a 1st and 3rd situation, which was almost a disaster for the A's until Hideki Matsui made a great running catch in left field, and we went to the top of the 3rd, and Rosales, not wanting to leave us trailing, hit a running Solo HR shot to tie it up 1-1.
The Phil's were doomed after that, especially after a great tumbling catch to rob Chase Utley of extra bases by Conor Jackson and end the inning "On the Artificial Warning Track" (according to Fosse).
In the top of the 4th, the A's got on the board again. After Mark Ellis reached on a HBP, and was subsequently caught "Stealing" on a failed hit and run attempt, in which Coco Crisp swung very pointedly at Ball 4, Crisp walked to bring up Matsui. Matsui singled, with Crisp running on the play, but not heads up, as Crisp slid into 2nd instead of taking advantage of the play and running to third. Never matter, the next batter, Conor Jackson, hit a fly ball to Center and Crisp, faking going to 3rd then stopping, caught Victorino off guard, who stopped flat footed and threw the ball into the infield, whereupon Crisp hightailed it to 3rd base, scoring on Scott Sizemore's single in the next at bat.
The A's would not score again, despite constantly getting men on base, until the top of the 9th. With 1 out, Pennington walked, and Jemile Weeks came up. Weeks hit a long double to Center, which Pennington held up a little on, preventing him from scoring. Mark Ellis, 2-4 on the night, came up next and Squibbed a bloop single to center with the infield in to score Pennington, and Coco Crisp hit a long sac fly to the wall to score Weeks, and put the game out of reach of the Phillies.. or so it seemed.
Flashing back to the bottom of the 8th inning, Trevor Cahill entered the inning laboring. After giving up a long, hard fly ball to left center, Ross Gload, pinch hitting, hit a hard double to the same area but deeper. Right there, it was obvious that Cahill, at 96 pitches, was done. After a very scary at bat, with two close wild pitches, Cahill somehow managed to strike out Jimmy Rollins. In the next at bat, the result was not so lucky. Cahill finally threw one that Suzuki could not block, and the runner advanced to 3rd, with Polanco eventually walking. With the winning run on 1st and the tying run on 3rd, Andrew Bailey came in and shut the door on the 8th with a groundball to Ellis.
In the bottom of the 9th, Ryan Howard led the inning off with a deep fly ball to the warning track for the first out. Then, from the A's perspective, came the trouble, or from the Phillies perspective, came the tease. Shane Victorino doubled off the wall with 1 out, and after walking the next batter, the tying run was up to bat. Luckily, Brown, who had earlier caused great ire with Phillies fans after hitting a sharp groundball to Jemile Weeks, which deflected off Weeks' glove, and thrown out at first because he had not hustled on the play, grounded to 2nd base for a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
- There were many fine defensive plays today, from Weeks to Rosales to Jackson to Matsui. It almost reminded me of the A's of yesteryear.
- Crappy lineup it may be, but Melvin somehow succeeded with this one.
- That said, Mark Ellis, despite his 2-4 day, has no business as the team's starting first baseman. Chris Carter should be out there.
- Cahill looked awesome tonight, throwing 7.2 IP and allowing 1 ER, with 3 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts.
- I would personally like to thank Andrew Bailey for not being Brian Fuentes.