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They Couldn't Touch Ziggy

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Garret Anderson's 2-run HR capped a three-run 8th inning off of Alan Embree, as the Angels came back to beat the A's. Final Score: Angels 5, A's 3.

There is some irony in the fact that the deciding runs were driven in by a homerun, because Brad Ziegler has never given up one of those. Rich Harden turned over a 2-2 game to Ziegler after 5 innings and Ziegler went 6 up, 6 down through the 6th and 7th, before Mark Ellis' HR off Scot Shields gave the A's a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 8th.

But it's not just that the Angels went 1-2-3 in each of the 6th and 7th innings. They didn't get so much as a good swing off of Ziggy in two innings, as he was ahead of hitters, finishing them off easily with strikeouts and weak ground balls. In the 6th and 7th innings combined, Ziggy threw just 24 pitches - 19 strikes. So with the heart of the order coming up in the 8th, you wonder why you would want anyone in there but a guy who had flat-out dominated the hitters far more than Rich Harden could - and that's hard to do.

Embree's not a bad pitcher, folks, no matter how much you may feel, at this moment, like he is. And Bob Geren did what most managers would have done, pulling his reliever after two innings when he had fresh arms available. But I still go back to one observation that, in my view, trumps everything else and makes the three-run 8th that much more bitter a pill to swallow: The Angels just couldn't touch Brad Ziegler. Not even close.