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Hannahan's Jack Leads The A's Out Of Funk

First of all, he may not be the world’s best player but tonight Jack Hannahan had himself a ballgame. With the A’s trailing 1-0 in the 4th, Hannahan exorcised the demons that have held the A’s to 0 or 1 run more often than any team on the planet with a 3-run HR off of Andy Sonnanstine. He would drive in his fourth run as the A’s added on in the late innings, and his outstanding defense choked off an early rally, helping Dallas Braden to make it through five innings of one run baseball and earn the win. How flabbergasting was it for the A’s to hit a 3-run HR? Perhaps that is best answered by Vince Cotroneo’s call, which was “GRAND SLAM!!!!”  Close enough.

Carlos Gonzalez also came up big in this A’s win, stretching all out to catch a drive to left-center field, walking twice, and showing his terrific instincts when he stunned LFer Carl Crawford by speeding around from first to third on Hannahan’s single; Gonzalez scored when Crawford double-clutched and then threw wildly to third.

I thought Braden looked better than he did last year, but not great, as he walked three and needed some defensive wizardry to keep the Rays down but also showed more confidence in his fastball and had Tampa Bay out in front of the changeup as often as not.

And while at times Brad Ziegler struggled with his command, he also threw two full innings and they were the only kind he has ever thrown in the major leagues: scoreless. Congratulations to AN’s best right-handed pitcher (notice how I don’t close the door on the possibility that I may still pull a Jamie Moyer and have a better career?) for setting the new American League record with 23.2 scoreless innings to begin his career. The major league record is 25.0 innings.

The A’s played a great game tonight, offensively, defensively, and on the bases. At this point, let’s just enjoy every well-played game, and every win we can, because tonight, and the week that preceded it, were reminders that regardless of the standings winning just feels a heck of lot better than losing.