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Rajai Rewrites Script; A's Earn Split with 4-3 Win

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Wow, I seriously had to switch gears.  Thankfully, I didn't have to switch back.

Through the first seven innings, the A's were uninspiring, listless, dead.  Five outs from a third consecutive defeat.  Twelve frames without even a sniff of home plate.  Mazzaro World a distant memory.

But from the ashes they arose to take us back to Giddy Town.

After the Twins had taken a 3-0 lead on the strength of a three-run shot by Joe Crede, the A's wrapped up their homestand in style with their second walk-off win of the season.

Jack Hannahan started Oakland on the comeback trail with a one-out triple in the eighth that eluded right-fielder Michael Cuddyer, and scored on a single by Orlando Cabrera. Then Adam Kennedy came through again.  His two-run homer tied things up, silenced the doubters once more (well, sorta), and sent a certain writer scrambling for a rewrite.

Brad Ziegler pitched two scoreless innings to put the A's in position to win it in the ninth.

And win it they did.  Jason Giambi worked a lead-off walk, and his pinch-running replacement, Chris Denorfia, moved up 90 feet when Kurt Suzuki was hit by a pitch.  Daric Barton, who played a mean glove this afternoon, bunted the runners over, and Rajai Davis jumped on the first pitch for a game-winning single.

Mazzaro World, revisited.

For awhile it didn't look that way.  Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn had mowed down Oaktown to the tune of three hits and three walks through seven.  The A's shot themselves in the foot by hitting into three double plays.

Blackburn's counterpart, Trevor Cahill, wasn't too shabby either.

For starters, he did something that no A's pitcher had accomplished since May 22: pitch a 1-2-3 first inning.  That's 19 straight games, for those of you keeping score at work.  After that spotless first, he worked in and out of trouble the next two innings, inducing the first of two double plays in the third.  In the fourth, trouble wore out its welcome. A single by Justin Morneau, a walk to Jason Kubel, followed by the Crede blast, and just like that it was 3-0.

That's how it stayed until the 8th, when the A's put me to work, and smiles on the faces of mANy.