Ok ok...I take full credit opening a new thread and thereby ruining the Duke's no-hit bid going to the 7th. At the same time, I also take full credit for Bad Finally Growing Into His Power Stroke Sweeney's solo homer in the bottom of the frame as well as Still the Most Likeable Sweeney's RBI single in the bottom of the 8th. My bad, but I'll take the good with the bad and hope the end result erases what could have been an epic blogospheric faux pas on my part.
Bottom line: the box score for this game should be read from the bottom up. The Duke was effing masterful this evening. Everytime he got a strike or two on the Sox he would whip out a darting, dashing cutter and the Red Legs would harmlessly fly out to someone, somewhere. Of the 20 outs he supplied for the A's defense, 16 of those were delivered via the air. And those outs were not of the "line drive right at someone" variety, they were of the "I just got embarrassed by a pitch I didn't expect and could only muster a weak fly ball" variety. His stat line tells little of the story but is typically Duchscherian: 8 inning pitched, 4 strikeouts, no walks, ONE FREAKIN HIT! Huston, newly rejuvenated and showcasing a devastating change-up to Jacoby Ellsbury, closed the door with a, yes, typically Hustonian line: 1 IP, 1 K, 2 groundouts. The sink is back with Huston's stride, the slice is back with the Duke's cutter and as for the A's offense...
The Sweeney odd-couple proved their worth tonight. They combined to get the first run this evening, as Mike (I henceforth cease calling them good/bad sweeney from now on since they were both effing GOOD tonight) doubled on a somewhat flukey flyball to right to start the 2nd...then Ryan BUNTED HIM OVER with no outs...with Mike on third and one out and RBI machine Emil Brown up to bat next, gotta give big ups to Bob Geren for some mad foresight. First Pitch Emil took the first pitch, a curveball, and delivered a grounder to short that resulted in a run-scoring fielder's choice as M Sweeney, ever the gamer, beat out at home, as he was going on contact. Ryan Sweeney's late game homer and Mike Sweeney's RBI single against Manny Delcarmen in the 8th finished the scoring for the A's, and, ultimatetely, concluded the scoring for the game.
All in all, it was a fantastic game to be an A's pitcher and to be someone in Oakland with the surname Sweeney. I'm starting to think that with Chavez back in the lineup, this team could be a contender as soon as...right now!