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A's 86ed By Byrd

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Travis Hafner's first inning RBI single was the game's only run until Ryan Garko broke the game open with a 3-run HR to lead Paul Byrd and two relievers to a shutout victory. Final Score: Indians 4, A's 0.

You had two starters who come at you with 86 MPH, battling 1-0 and at times making it look easy. Meanwhile, the A's two-out curse continued, as Cleveland scored the game's first run after Justin Duchscherer got the first two batters out in the 1st inning, and scored the other three runs after Alan Embree retired the first two batters in the 8th.

The closest the A's came to scoring? That would be when Frank Thomas, on second with two outs, managed not to score on a pop fly single to CF that Grady Sizemore fielded cleanly despite a weird hop and then fired a strike to the plate - the five-pointed thing that seemed to confuse Thomas a bit. The only beef I had with Thomas on that play, because I'm just relieved he didn't get injured in the slide--roll-collision-thingy, is that he really could have had a bigger lead off of second. That's the part he could most control, not the part about being slower than AN 2.0 or not quite knowing how to turn his reconstructed 6' a lot" frame into a gracefully sliding object.

But the real bottom line today is this: The Indians played as close to a perfect game as a baseball team can play. Byrd was masterful (which is the word beginning with "mast" that I am most comfortable associating with Byrd), and Cleveland's defense was nothing short of sensational. David Dellucci's leaping catch was very good, Sizemore's play on Thomas excellent, his diving catch phenomenal, and Asdrubal Cabrera's over-the-shoulder diving catch in short CF as good a play as you will see.

So after the "grrr we lost" wears off, we can look back at this game and just appreciate that we saw some exceptional baseball on display by the Indians. Maybe tomorrow it will be the A's day - we'll see see.