On a night when MLB-TV decided not to work (though things were even worse for some people in that regard), the A's eked out a 2-1 win over the Giants to tie this year's version of the Bay Bridge Series at a game apiece. The rubber match is tomorrow at the Coliseum which (thankfully) wraps up the longest spring season in Oakland history.
San Francisco ran out its second Cy Young Award winner in as many nights, with Livermore High alum Randy Johnson taking the bump. But the A's struck first in the second. Nomar Garciaparra doubled off the wall to lead off the inning, and with two outs Travis Buck came through with a two-bagger of his own down the leftfield line to give the A's an early 1-0 lead.
Dana Eveland made it through two innings with nary a scare but found himself in self-inflicted peril in the third. After Emmanuel Burris stroked a soft single to right with one out, the southpaw issued consecutive walks to load the bases. (Burris for his part, advanced 180 feet on his own, swiping second and third base; the latter bag as part of a double steal). Fred Lewis' base hit tied things up, but Eveland retired the next two batters to escape further damage.
Came the fourth and Eveland walked the tightrope again, placing runners on the corner with one out. But he came back to strike out Burris, and got Randy Winn on a line-out to third. Bobby Crosby made a "cap-high catch" at the hot corner to keep things knotted up. I know that sounds weird, but the radio guys said it happened, and I tend to believe stuff like that.
From there Eveland was untouchable, as he retired the Giants in order in the fifth and sixth frames. He left having allowed three hits and four walks in six innings (and just 82 pitches), while striking out five. The four hurlers that followed Eveland- Casilla, Wuertz, Gallagher, and Ziegler- tossed four shutout innings.
Meanwhile the A's had little success against Johnson or anyone else that made their way to the mound. That is, until the top of the tenth, but even after loading the bases with no one out, Oakland was unable to push across the lead run on its own.
A pair of singles and a walk were negated by the ever-popular 3-2-5 double play, leaving Jack Hannahan at second, and Cliff Pennington at first with two outs. A wild pitch by Luis Perdoma moved the runners up one station, and yet another one sent Hannahan scurrying home with the go-ahead point.
Brad Ziegler got two quick outs in the bottom of the tenth, before walking a batter to make things interesting, then he retired Fred Lewis on a ground out to first. Ball game.
And so we are down to one last game that doesn't count, with all minds on Monday. For a change.