And that's about the only thing the A's perfectly executed today. With the help of four errors (3 in one inning by Moss) and an appearance by Brian "DFA" Fuentes, the A's managed to blow a lead, go down by a seemingly insurmountable number of runs, and then attempted to pull off a near-amazing comeback in the ninth, thwarted only by a ground rule double, and a second-year player who thinks he's Rickey Henderson. The ninth was exciting, to be sure, but the end result is another horribly painful loss to the one team the A's really need to beat. Yet...I don't know. Normally, I don't want a teAse; either complete the comeback or don't even try, but I thought the A's offense gave a really solid effort in the comeback, and they nearly pulled it off. It's not their fault that the starting pitcher was a fill-in (Ross replaced Colon), the first-baseman Moss is not really at home in the position, Jonny Gomes isn't Collin Cowgill (DL'd today), and Brian Fuentes should be playing golf instead of baseball.
And also, would someone build a time machine and go back to the early 1980's and tell parents to stop naming their kids "Brandon"? Between Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Brandon Moss, Brandon Inge, Brandon Hicks, and the announcers talking about Brandon McCarthy, who is not starting tomorrow against Matt Cain, it was a circus act out there. I won't even mention the fly ball where someone said "Brandon" and Hicks and Inge both looked confused.
So back to the game. The A's started the game in much the same was as they did yesterday, which should have been the bad omen right there. Coco Crisp singled, Jemile took his place after a groundout, and Reddick absolutely blasted a two-run homerun, his second in as many at-bats.The A's would jump out to an early 2-0 lead (leaving two more runners on base, I might add).
Meanwhile, Tyson Ross, despite having a couple of good innings, took the loss today with some "help" from his defense, and his replacement. He also walked 4 in his 5.1 innings, so I really don't feel sorry for him. His second inning was anything but a shut-down; a walk, a single, an error by Gomes on the play, and a single tied the game just like that. The A's scratched back with an RBI single from Reddick in the second and a Jonny Gomes atonement homerun in the third, giving them a 4-2 lead.
All hell broke loose in the 4th, much like the 9th last night. Ross got the first out, then allowed a walk and a single to put two on. Then Brandon Moss made a fielding error and a missed catch error on the same play, allowing both runners to score. (He would also make another error later in the inning.) Jerry Blevins replaced Tyson Ross with one runner on and promptly gave up a homerun to one of the Brandons (Belt). So the Giants took the lead at 6-4 (still a close game!), and the A's didn't have Balfour or Cook, thanks to yesterday's debacle. But they did have Fuentes (subtext: IF HE ISN'T DFA'D BY GAME TIME TOMORROW, HEADS WILL ROLL!).
Fuentes allowed a one-out walk and then a homerun by one of the players not named Brandon (Posey). He also left the bases loaded for Noberto, who walked in a run for icing on the cake, putting the game out of reach at 9-4.
Meanwhile, the A's offense was dormant until the ninth. Side note: Coco Crisp, out of sheer frustration boiling over from last night at a second called third strike, got kicked out of the game in the seventh and was replaced by Smith. But the ninth is where it got a little interesting. Weeks lined out to start the inning. Reddick singled, Cespedes struck out for the second out, Gomes walked, Inge singled in the fifth run, Norris singled in the sixth run, Moss walked to load the bases, and in his first game, Brandon Hicks hit a ground-rule double to score two, and brought the A's to within a run at 9-8. Oh, if only that ball took a different bounce. For your viewing pleasure, I rewound that several times, and it's pretty likely that Moss is thrown out at home (he was barely to second when the ball hit the wall), but oh...for the chance to have the tying run score! Instead, the ground rule double killed the bases-clearing, game-tying triple, and after Seth Smith walked to reload the bases, Jemile Weeks took two huge hacks (instead of trying for a soft, game-winning single, or game-tying HBP, or ANYTHING) and popped up to the second baseman to end the game.
Cue curtain. Cue one-run loss. Cue heartbreak. The A's try not to get swept tomorrow.