For what has seemed like a week of dreams, the A's have done little wrong. Their pitching staff, led by newcomer Vin Mazzarro, has been practically untouchable, as the squad has clawed their way back from being deep in last place to ... let's call it only slightly embedded in last place - making the march toward .500 and respectability possible. But tonight, in a game that was honestly closer than the final score, the Twins did what the Orioles and White Sox could not, - finding a way to come out on top.
Starter Brett Anderson did not have his best stuff tonight. As BBG sent me midway through the game, he kept everything up, giving up two singles in the first, and getting in trouble in the second inning, leading to the game's first run. But a key play in the sixth set things in motion Minnesota's way.
After Morneau homered to lead off the inning and make it 2-0 Twins, Kubel singled. With one out, Cuddyer hit what looked like it could be an inning-ending double play to Adam Kennedy, but Kubel stopped in his tracks and stalled Kennedy enough that he was only able to get the force. That small play, not an error, of course, because you can't assume the DP, soon ballooned, following a single and then two razor-thin doubles that just painted the lines to both fields, putting the Twins up 5-0 at the end of the frame.
Santiago Casilla, who relieved Anderson, didn't offer much relief to the A's or their fans, as in the 7th, he walked Mauer to start the inning, gave up a single to Morneau, and then a bomb to Kubel (yes, he of the previous inning's play) to make it 8-0, Twins. A run here and a run there, and pretty soon, it was a 10-0 ball game.
Meanwhile, as all the fun was happening when the Twins were batting, the A's were extremely quiet the first eight innings, posting only two hits and no runs.
It wasn't until the 9th, down by 10 runs that the A's bats woke up. The Twins' Scott Baker did his best Casilla impression, letting three reach base, all of whom later scored. Jesse Crain didn't do much better, letting three more reach base, including one via the error. While not making any big hits, the A's managed to stretch the Twins' bullpen to the point they brought in the closer, Joe Nathan, in a save situation, as Hannahan came to bat for the second time in the inning. Hannahan and Rajai Davis, with the bases loaded, were the only hopes for the A's as they stared hope in the face.
And as you would anticipate, they struck out (both) and the A's fell short. One big inning did not a win make, just like one loss cannot undo the benefits of the seven wins that preceded. Did the A's get outplayed today, for eight full innings? Absolutely. Did they get some bad breaks with balls hit by the Twins that just eked in the line? Sure. But it only counts as one loss, and tomorrow, we play again to possibly start an even longer streak. Game time is 7:05 p.m. locally, from the Coliseum.