How fitting that today's game ended with Jemile Weeks rediscovering his "slashing line to line" stroke -- and lining into a 5-3 DP instead of tying the game or perhaps setting the A's up to win. And how fitting that the baserunning blunder ("back to the bag on a line drive -- you've heard this since Little League") was made by an A's shortstop, Eric Sogard, considering that the starting shortstop, Adam Rosales, and the shortstop Oakland didn't acquire, Yunel Escobar, had a lot to say in the 5th inning about today's outcome.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Matched up against Aaron Laffey, Tommy Milone takes a 3-run lead into the 4th inning, only to serve up a HR to Edwin Encarnacion and go on to lose the game. This time it was 4-1 A's, courtesy of a Josh Reddick 3-run HR in the 3rd, when Encarnacion launched a two-run HR to make it 4-3.
In the 5th, Milone should have had an easy inning. Two outs, and Rajai Davis hit a pop fly to deep shortstop -- Rosales lost it in the sun and it dropped. Then Anthony Gose slapped a double to LF, which was actually the hardest hit ball of the inning, putting runners at 2B and 3B. The run that would turn out to be the difference was intentionally walked to load the bases. It was Encarnacion, and if I'm Bob Melvin I issue that IBB every time. It did not, however, pay off when Yunel Escobar bounced a 26-hopper (I counted -- ok I didn't) through the hole to LF to plate two runs, and then Kelly Johnson blooped a duck snort into LF to make it 6-4.
And that, apparently, is better than ripping line drives that fielders can catch, which is what the A's spent far too much of their Sunday afternoon doing, right down to the final two outs. One liner that wasn't caught, a Coco Crisp RBI double in the 7th, made it closer, 6-5, but ultimately all that accomplished was to allow the A's to snap their 10-game winning streak in one-run games.
The A's are no longer in sole possession of the wild card lead, as the Detroit Tigers caught them with an A's-like 5-run bottom of the 10th to overcome Cleveland's 3-run top of the 10th, and as a result the A's and Tigers now share the first wild card spot, with the Angels just a half game back -- and heading to town. Hold on to your hats, folks, because it's going to be quite a ride. Don't hit the ball too hard; someone might actually be able to see it.