Final Score: Blue Jays 6, A's 4
Pitching, hitting, fielding. Generally it helps to do at least one of those things well, or at least not to do them all badly - as the A's showed today for 8 painful innings before making a last-gasp scramble for respectability in the 9th.
Pitching: Of the 10 hits Sean Gallagher allowed in his 5 innings of work (4 runs, 3 ER), some were bleeders but one was a homerun by Lyle Overbay and it's hard to construct a context in which Gallagher's performance was overly inspiring - except for the fact that he did not walk a batter, perhaps the one pitching-related positive the A's can take away from this game. In relief, Kevin Cameron threw 28 pitches, only 16 strikes, a ratio that was still slightly better than it was for his throws to first. Jerry Blevins, aka "The Centerfield Foul Pole," served up the last two runs and four hits, as Toronto had 15 hits overall.
Hitting: Through 6 innings, the A's only hit of Brian Tallet was Matt Holliday's bloop single, and Tallet finished 7 innings with only 2 hits and 1 run (a 7th inning HR by Jason Giambi) on his ledger. The one hitting positive for the day? Giambi HRed again in the 9th, giving him 399 for his career and 2 in his last 2 ABs. But overall, the A's got 5 of their 8 hits in the 9th inning, far too little far too late.
Fielding: Good grief. A high pop fly fell in between Ryan Sweeney (started back) and Orlando Cabrera (big yellow circle in sky! where ball?), leading to an unearned run off of Gallagher, Kevin Cameron uncorked a wild pickoff throw and Ryan Sweeney missed the cutoff man as the Blue Jays scored their 6th run.
The 9th was fun. With the A's trailing 6-1, Cabrera singled and one out later Giambi HRed. Then after Holliday flied out, Cust singled, Sweeney singled and Crosby walked to load the bases. Adam Kennedy, representing the winning run, singled for his first A's hit to make it 6-4 and keep the bases loaded for Landon Powell. However, Powell swung at the first pitch and fouled out to right.
Winning series is crucial and the A's still have a chance to win the series behind Dallas Braden tomorrow. However, when you start out in a 9-16 hole you need to string some wins together at some point and the A's need to sweep some series if they're going to get back in the hunt for real. And they'll only do that by playing well for more than one inning on a given day.