Game #116: A's Grind Out Win, Fans Barely Survive

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

If you didn't have the pleasure (read: sarcastic) of seeing this one, all you need to know is that the A's won. I won't highlight the fact that their pitchers walked 11 Blue Jays (to be fair, the umpire might have had an interesting strike zone), their defense had its customary multiple-error game, and they stranded another million runners at third with fewer than two outs. Let's just say that the A's won, and Balfour got the save. All good?

Well that was fun. I had just finished a gorgeous hand-made club sandwich, with the best turkey and freshly cooked bacon (Take THAT, Glen and Ray!), and the ninth inning happened. I think my sandwich is still lodged in my throat. This game was maddening from start to finish, as the A's popped up knuckleball after knuckleball, stranding runners all over the bases against R.A. Dickey. The A's got a lead-off walk to open the game (stranded), the first two on in the second (stranded), a runner on with two outs in the fourth (stranded), and runners at first and third with no one out in the fifth (stranded). There were many TV's that did not get out of the fifth inning alive.

Meanwhile, as if to add insult to injury, the A's handed Toronto their first run on an error by Moss, and another error by Sogard. To be fair, these errors where somewhat balanced out by the amazing catch by Crisp in the field, and by Vogt behind the plate. The game remained 1-0 until the sixth inning when Cespedes doubled to open the frame. He was advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Reddick was unable to score him from third. Sheer panic set in from the peanut gallery as we all wondered if the A's would ever score a run from third, but then, Josh Donaldson smashed a single to tie the game. And Moss followed with a two-run homerun to give the A's a 3-1 lead.

A.J. Griffin, who was shaky all day, stranding eight runners through his five innings, started the sixth inning, much to the chagrin of the Shutdown Inning Club. In the blink of an eye, the Blue Jays would tie the game, knock Griffin out of the game, and only a good outing by Cook kept the score tied. The A's made barely a whimper in the seventh, but our plucky heroes owned the eighth. Once Dickey was out of the game, Reddick collected a one-out single against Oliver and Donaldson walked. With two on, Moss struck out, and we pulled our hair out. And then Callaspo hit a ball to the wall, and just when it looked for all the world like we would be robbed yet again, the ball dropped. THE BALL DROPPED! And two runs were in. Cheers abounded, despite Donaldson almost tripping himself running home, a bad move for the third baseman and the backup catcher. Vogt would infield-single Callaspo to third, and Chris Young pinch-hit for Coco Crisp. You read that right. Young would single in the A's third run of the inning, and sixth total. They would need all of them for the ninth.

Doolittle walked his leadoff batter in the eighth, but he would get out of the inning, and we would go to the ninth. Balfour walked (questionably) his leadoff batter to set the tone of the inning. He would handle the first out himself on a comebacker that he did not throw away (see: Blevins, Jerry), and he would get a strike out for the second out. But then a double scored the Blue Jays' fourth run, and back-to-back walks loaded the bases to bring up Reyes. All was hinging on this at-bat, this very pitch, and Balfour got the much-needed groundout for the two hour long (approximately), 31-pitch save. And that's all that matters. THE A'S WIN!

The A's will try to win three out of four in tomorrow's game of the wraparound series; 9:30AM, Straily vs. Johnson. We'll see you here for all of the heart-attack-inducing action.

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