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Wrap: Game 155 - A's 5, Mariners 3

I guess the terminology thrown around in the Game Thread to describe the recent play of the Seattle Mariners was something along the lines of "comical suckitude." The term definitely applied to the Mariner bullpen today (or rather just Miguel "Poetista" Bautista) who blew a 3-1 Mariner lead in the 7th and 8th innings to hand the A's a sweep of the 3 game set and conclude the miserable Mariner road trip on an 11-game losing streak.

The game began and quickly progressed as a tight pitching duel between two young right handers. Seattle's Brandon Morrow looked overpowering at times early in the game and didn't even allow an Oakland hit until the bottom of the 6th inning. By that time the Mariners had scratched out 1 run against Oakland starter Sean Gallagher, who, although he wasn't as overpowering as Morrow, limited the damage whenever he got into trouble (as in the 1st, 3rd and 4th innings when walks and hits threatened to knock him out early). Sean kept his compusure and although his control wasn't the best (3 walks in 6 2/3 innings) he was able to get the Mariners to bight on some borderline pitches and make weak contact during key times to keep them off the board. The great thing about guys like Gallagher, who have multiple above-average pitches, is that even without great control or even a lot of life on the fastball (Sean was only hitting between 89-91 most of the day with the offering) he was able to get Seattle's two most powerful batters (lefties Raul Ibanez and Bryan Lahair) to strike out twice on good biting curveballs and fastballs out of the zone. Overall, it wasn't a great outing by Gallagher by any means, but he got deep into the game, struck out 5 batters and kept runs off the board. It was just one of those prototypical, unflashy, "got the job done" outings that we may quantify as a "quality start".

Gallagher left the game after having given up a single and a walk with two outs in the top of the 7th with the A's still down 1-0. Geren went to Jerry Blevins (the JerBle - "pronounced 'ger-bil'") to get the final out of the inning, but instead Jerry gave up back to back run-scoring singles to Ichiro and Betancourt before striking out Ibanez to end the inning. 3-0 Mariners heading into the bottom of the 7th and with the way hometown-boy Brandon Morrow was dealing it looked like the game was effectively over...

But the young A's fought back against Morrow, who finally tired in the 7th and lost his compusure to the persistent A's. Pennington walked, then scored on Crosby's double over Ibanez's head. Morrow then walked Barton to put men on 1st and 2nd with 1 out before being lifted in favor of Bautista. Geren then, for the second time in 2 days, pinch-hit an outfielder for Jeff Baisley, this time being Aaron "Clutch" Cunningham. The diminutive left fielder pasted the first offering he got from the Poetista right over Ibanez's head, near the same area as Crosby had just two batters before. Both Crosby and Barton scored on the play. Tie game 3-3. Bautista would get Buck and Cargon to ground out to end the threat without further damage before returning to the mound for the bottom of the 8th. Cue Custian heroics...

After Ziggy came in and breezed through a 1-2-3 top of the frame, the A's went right back to work with the lumber. After Ryan Sweeney walked on 4-pitches to open the frame, big Jack Cust came up, got under an outside breaking pitch and just muscled it over the short green wall in left field underneath the barbeque terrace for his 30th homerun of the season! A's take the lead 5-3, on another come-from-behind rally! Joey Devine came on in the top of the 9th to notch his first save with the A's. Whew! What a game.

The A's now head to Arlington trailing the Rangers by only a half game. Hopefully the momentum from two straight come-from-behind victories can propel them to another series sweeeeeeep!