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A's Scoot To 7 Games Over .500

By the time their respective careers are over, no doubt Bobby Crosby will own better offensive stats than Marco Scutaro. But for at least one magical night, the "wrong guy" played the part of the mashing shortstop, as Scutaro hit for 7 total bases, provided the biggest hit, and put an exclamation point on the evening with an important insurance run.

Meanwhile, don't look now but the A's are climbing towards division-leader respectability, with a record that is 7 games over .500. OK, not respectability perhaps, but at least pulling away from "Padre territory". Most importantly, the A's have suddenly put 3 games between them and the Angels, who just had their Colon removed and can't be feeling as good about their chances as they were feeling a week ago. How quickly things change in baseball--and how quickly they change back, which is why it is imperative that the A's take two steps forward without taking one back. If today's efforts by Scutaro and Ellis are any indication, the A's may be able to do just that.

It's remarkable how when Bradley and Thomas are both in the lineup, suddenly the A's offense looks respectable--not incredible, but good enough to combine with top-notch pitching and defense to get the job done. With Bradley and Thomas working opposing pitchers and having quality at-bats every time, Payton can afford to hack away, Chavez can provide punch lower in the order, and everything seems to fall into place.

Finally, props to Jay Payton for going from "broken bone?" to "great game" in 48 hours. His "hustle double" and circus catch showed that while he may not be the A's prototypical "take-and-rake and play defense with fundamentals" guy, he was a good player to hang onto. Bradley, Payton, Scutaro--it might turn out to be Beane's finest trading deadline yet!