In what was a tale of two different games, and would ultimately be a horrible loss, the A's failed to win the game in the first inning, refused to knock out a struggling Lincecum, and managed not to elicit any kind of a rally thereafter, which would leave a dark cloud over the rest of the game. They would pay dearly for their first inning failure; it just took until the ninth inning for the reaper to come calling. Even though the box score will show the loss in the ninth, it is a game that the A's really did lose in the first; even with a good closer starting the ninth inning with a two-run lead, the game never felt like it belonged to the A's.
The first inning is painful to write about, because I'm not sure any team in the league wastes baserunners quite like the A's. Jarrod Parker started the game nicely enough, setting down the three batters he faced, and the A's immediately jumped all over Tim Lincecum. But they only inflicted glancing blows, and refused to go in for the KO. Coco Crisp started the game with a single and stole second and third. Jemile Weeks singled him in for the first run of the game. Josh Reddick singled and Yoenis Cespedes walked. In a weird play, Seth Smith grounded to first, where Belt didn't touch the bag before throwing home to Sanchez, who didn't touch home plate and didn't tag the runner in time, leaving everyone safe, adding the second run, and leaving the bases loaded with no one out. Brandon Inge drew an RBI walk, leaving the bases loaded with no one out, and the A's leading 3-0. How Brandon Moss, Kurt Suzuki, and Cliff Pennington all managed to strike out instead of putting the ball in play (or, hell, taking a walk!) and driving Lincecum right out of the game is beyond me, but they didn't. I didn't really want to believe it, but I was pretty sure the A's were headed for a L right there.
True to form, the A's didn't get another hit until the bottom of the eighth. Lincecum would stay in through six innings, and every inning the A's pitched was like a ticking time bomb. Parker pitched beautifully, giving up one run in the third on a single off Brandon Moss' glove. Parker would pitch six plus, leaving things in the hands of Jerry Blevins after a single to open the seventh. Blevins hit Belt (don't worry, he would be okay, much to the ninth inning chagrin of A's fans) to put two runners on, and the Giants looked utterly idiotic on the next move.
In general, it pisses me off to no end in baseball when managers make absolutely stupid calls and are ultimately rewarded for them. What Justin Christian was doing bunting with two runners on, no outs in the seventh, down by two runs is beyond me, and the A's got lucky that time; he popped up the bunt to give Blevins the easy first out. Unfortunately, the A's luck couldn't last forever.
The A's made one last, desperate gasp at insurance runs in the eighth inning, as an Inge walk, a Suzuki single (his first hit in something like 9,987 at-bats), and a Pennington walk loaded the bases with two outs for Coco Crisp. Unfortunately, the umpire let his orange and black colors show and called Coco out on a strike three that nearly hit him on the way in. It was a lousy call, and might have been the foreshadowing of "It just wasn't meant to be tonight".
Ryan Cook sucked. There. I said it. The game would be in the bag and we'd be celebrating if Cook hadn't been...well...Fuentes. Walking the first two batters of a 3-1 game is highly not recommended, and then throwing a really lousy pitch to plate them both on a double doesn't help the cause either. Also, trying to get the game to extra innings is a better plan then giving up another hit, and also, when Cook is replaced by K-machine Doolittle, he might want to get his two strikeouts BEFORE two more runs score. Just sayin'. Any way you slice it, the Giants scored four in the ninth, and because Weeks just couldn't get on base with his 3-2 count, he didn't score on Reddick's teAse homerun in the ninth, and instead, we are all upset and drinking now.
AND we have to do it again tomorrow at 4PM. I'll be your host, Tyson Ross will be your pitcher, and for the love of all things baseball, can the A's NOT do what they did after losing a heartbreaker to the D-backs? We can still win the series if we win the next two; someone please tell the downtrodden clubhouse that. I wanted the win for all of our A's jumping up and down on the clubhouse steps. I hope they get a nice one tomorrow.