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Beat Lackey, Me Likey!

Yessssss!!!! WOO HOO!!! Yes! Yes! YES! {points to sky with both arms fully extended}

Anyway, there's something most satisfying about beating John Lackey, who has to be second-guessing himself for speeding up Jack Hannahan's bat with a slow (hanging) curve. 5.1 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER told the story - Lackey was not at his sharpest tonight and it was nice to see the A's take advantage.

And while the Angels may not be the world's most patient team, tonight was still a big step forward for Sean Gallagher as he cruised through 7 solid innings without issuing a walk. Gallagher's fastball has excellent movement - he's one of the first A's pitchers in a long time who can start his fastball at a left-handed hitter, freeze him, and have it cross the plate a strike. If he has to pick one team to "own," by all means let it be the Angels - but honestly if he trusts his fastball, and throws strikes, at the rate he did tonight Gallagher will live up to his considerable promise.

Offensively, the A's outfield truly shone tonight. Ryan Sweeney's four-hit night left him with a .301 batting average for the season and he continues to be utterly reliable, both in process and outcome, with runners in scoring position. Aaron Cunningham, off whose bat the ball really jumps, drilled a single and a double and reached base three times. And Travis Buck, back with, hopefully, amnesia, made the most of his second shot in Oakland this year, beating out an infield hit and stealing second in his first at bat, then lining a solid RBI single in his last at bat.

The A's have won three games in a row, something they could not accomplish in July or August, and in each of the three games they have plated 7 runs. The A's still have some real work to do to improve their infield, but there is real "major league ready" depth in the rotation, the bullpen, and the outfield.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the much maligned Hannahan. He may not be a great player, but he has been pressed into "over his head" duty as an every day player who should be in a utility role. He's never going to be a great hitter, but his defense has been outstanding and he has had a few key hits like the one against Lackey tonight. He has never said he should be an every day starter and he has never complained or made excuses. So thanks for the big jack tonight, Big Jack - anyone who helps to beat John Lackey is a friend of mine.