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"Ellis looks absolutely lost at the plate right now": A's 7, Angels 3

EPIC FAIL of the game threads for the day.

In my (and Nico's, and Jennifer's) defense, Ellis had looked pretty bad recently at the plate (while his defense has remained outstanding, of course). But that was certainly a sweet swing Ellis had in the 12th, dropping the bat head and getting all of a Bootcheck meatball for a game-winning grand slam. (Not so incidentally, that makes Ellis an even .500 lifetime against Bootcheck: 6/12 with 2 HRs.)

This was a game of multiple highlights and ups and downs, rather than dominant performances. Harden struck out the side on 9 pitches in the first ... but then got the yips with his control in the 4th, walking 3 (two of whom scored, one on the Vlad HR) and driving his pitchcount up and ensuring his early departure after 6 IP. The offense look solid at times -- Hannahan and Chavez both with excellent at-bats in the first, Gonzalez and Chavez again with solid RBI knocks in the 4th and 7th -- but utterly lost for much of the game (and Geren's ploy to swap in Davis and Brown for Cust and Chavez, especially knowing since as early as the 2nd that Crosby might have to be subbed out, didn't help matters). The A's pen, despite a few too many walks by Embree, Foulke, and Brown, kept their collective shoulder against the door, shutting the Angels out for 8 innings. Brad Ziegler earned the win (insofar as a reliever can) with 1-2/3 innings, including two double plays (one of the more unconventional variety, on a soft liner to Petit).

Harden, despite his struggles in the 4th, could probably have escaped unscathed if not for the sheer physical brilliance of Vlad Guerrero. That homerun was just stupid. No way any human being should be able to hit a changeup that's knee-high a foot in front of the plate and dropping in fair territory, let alone over the fence. Props to Vlad on that one. And props to Casey Kotchman, who put on a clinic in the field at first base today (and recovered nicely from what could have been a debilitating crash into the wall in foul territory).

The one thing I do hold against Harden is the walk of Anderson in front of Vlad before Vlad's HR. As I mentioned in my pregame writeup, Harden's got a bizarre history of letting Garrett "I'd average below one pitch per AB if I could" Anderson get on base and drive his pitch count up, and putting people on in front of Vlad is always dangerous. Odd (meaningless and non-significant) stat of the day: Garrett Anderson is currently the all-time career walks leader against Harden. Yeah, OK, with ... 6. Including today's. For a lead over the crowd at #2 of ... 2. But still: this is GARRET ANDERSON we're talking about here. Strikes, Rich.

On the whole, though, an entirely satisfying win against the Slegna.