See? They're not so bad after all!
The A's ensured that they wouldn't close the year on a 58-game losing streak by beating the host Tigers 4-2 Friday night.
Dallas Braden threw seven very good innings, hitting his spots and walking only one while striking out two. Braden will probably never be big strikeout guy in the big leagues since he lacks eye-popping stuff, but certainly he's improved as a pitcher in the last 12 months.
When you don't throw very hard, sometimes you can get beat even when you make good pitches, and that explains the only blemish on Braden's line tonight. Marcus Thames crushed a ball about 440 feet to straight away center to stake the Tigers to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but it wasn't a bad pitch. It was right around the knees and it was on the outside corner.
On the offensive end, the A's took the lead in the fifth with a 3-run rally. Rajai Davis, who cracked the lineup due to Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust's minor injuries, had a two-run single, and Mark Ellis eventually followed with a run-scoring single to make it 3-2.
In the sixth, Emil Brown tacked on an insurance run with a solo bomb.
But like any bad journalist, I've saved the real story for last, buried at the bottom: Brad Ziegler.
Ziegler shined in his closer debut, pitching both the eighth and the ninth innings and extending his record scoreless inning streak to begin a career to 37. We're not too far from needing this sheet for reference, so I'm gonna link to it now. That's all the pitchers in history who have thrown 40 consecutive scoreless innings or more. There's only 21 of them, led of course by Orel Hershiser at 59.
Awesome win, and I think we're all incredibly happy for Brad Ziegler and the wonderful story of never giving up that he represents. That, to me, is unquestionably the highlight of the A's season.