A’s 5, Tigers 4 (10 innings) After Huston Street couldn’t hold a 4-2 lead for the second game in a row, Dan Johnson’s RBI single won it for the A’s in the bottom of the 10th.
First of all, I don’t think Huston Street has very good 4-2, but he showed very good fortitude in his comeback inning, a dominant 10th through the heart of the Tigers’ order. Blanton deserved the win, but Street got it—and deserved it, in his own way.
There’s a reason Dan Johnson has one sacrifice bunt in his entire professional career. Actually, two reasons. One is that he’s a lousy bunter, but the other is that throughout his professional career his managers haven’t really wanted to take the bat out of his hands. Just as Street made good on his reprieve, Johnson made good on his.
Sometimes the best defensive plays are the ones you don’t make and sometimes the worst defensive plays are the ones you don’t make. In the 9th inning, I thought Ellis showed his smarts by not trying to get a difficult force at second base even though it was the tying run and it was tempting to try to get the lead runner. Instead of risking a disastrous throw into left-field, Ellis calmly threw to first and took the sure out—which would have been a game-saver if only Street had gotten the third out. (Ellis’ decision didn’t look quite so good when Casey singled to tie the game, but it was still the right play.) Contrast that with the final play of the game. How does Polanco not get to that ball at least to knock it down? I mean, thanks and everything, but surely Ellis gets there. <cough> gold glove <cough>
So despite enduring a 5-game losing streak, the A’s finish August 17-12, and they continue to remind the contending teams not to forget about them.