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Two Thomas Bombs, But "Small Ball" Gets The Last Laugh

Tonight, you got two questions answered: Why the White Sox are reigning World Champions, and why the A's struggle to score runs. The last play of the game was a beautiful example of not waiting for offense to come to you. A lousy hitter surveying the field to see how he could best get a runner 90 feet farther and forcing the defense to do something. If Jason Kendall does the same thing against Armando Benitez, the A's have one more win to fall back on later in the season. Hopefully, someone in the A's organization is taking notes, because when the opposition puts on a clinic against you, at least you should learn something from it.

But the story tonight really was the A's injuries. In the 8th inning, Ken Macha went to Justin Duchscherer, but it was Steve Karsay and Karsay surrendered a homerun. Then Macha went to Joe Kennedy, but it was Randy Kiesler and Kiesler gave up a ringing double. So he turned it over to Calero in the 10th, but Calero had already been used in the 7th so it was Ron Flores. And don't forget about Mark Ellis. Ellis flags down Thome's single and the White Sox' first run never scores. He keeps Mackowiak's 10th inning single on the infield, Pierzynski stops at second, and a game-winning bunt is not an option. Injuries caught up to the A's in a big way today.

Finally, Macha did one thing tonight that really frustrated me, just as it did in the Angels' clinching win in 2004. That day, Octavio Dotel stayed in the bullpen as Macha elected not to ask him to get 5 outs. An Erstad double off Rincon and a tie game later, Macha put Dotel in--and asked him to get 5 outs. A closer either is, or isn't, available to get a certain number of outs. If Macha was willing to ask Huston Street to get 4 outs today, then Street should have been in to face Uribe. And if he had been, the A's likely would have won it in nine today.

Two awfully tough losses in the last three days. You can only absorb so many of those, as it's a long season--but not that long.