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A Man, A Plan...A Slam. Crap.

Raul Ibañez' grand slam gave the M's an 8-1 lead and an A's comeback effort fell one short: Mariners 8, A's 7.

I suppose it would be hard to argue that the game’s big blow was Raul Ibañez’ grand slam, which jumped the M’s from 4 runs to 8 runs before the A’s came back and ended with 7. But baseball, like all sports, starts and ends with fundamentals and while you may see the most remarkable plays on SportsCenter the games are in fact usually won and lost on how the “unforced errors” are handled.

If Chad Gaudin tries to get the sure out at first base on a sacrifice bunt, using his glove because after all that’s why he has one on, the damage of the long ball is far less and perhaps the A’s comeback proves sufficient to put the team in the win column. Such is the nature of baseball: Everyone remembers the grand slam, but fewer will recall that the game may have turned just as much on a ball that traveled only 50 feet while the Mariners were trying to make an out.

Gaudin is mentally or physically spent for the year, pick one. Also in dire need of an off-season recovery is any umpire who believes the outside corner extends as far as it did on strike three to DaVanon and Barton. That’s not the outside corner, that’s third base; please make a note of it.

Nice job by the A’s bullpen and go get ‘em tomorrow. Or don’t. Gah, I hate meaningless games!