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Bombs From Cust and Giambi Provide Run Support For Dallas Braden in Series Win

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Dallas Braden, who has pitched much, much better than his record will show, was rewarded for an excellent start today with an actual win, as the A’s take the series from the Tigers with the final score of 5-1.

Braden was simply fantastic in his seven innings of work, allowing five hits (most of them doubles), one walk, and three strikeouts. His ERA has dropped to 3.13, one of the better numbers in the league, and although he was dodging doubles all outing, he managed to allow only the single run. It would be more than enough for the A’s offense.

Down 1-0 to a tough Justin Verlander in the fourth, Ryan Sweeney would single with two outs, bringing up the slumping Jack Cust. Unlike the past few weeks, Cust had nothing to worry about in today’s game except his bat; with the return of Travis Buck to the lineup, he was the designated hitter. He would end the day with just the one hit, but it was a huge one; he homered to left to give the A’s a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish.

They would add on in the sixth inning, as Holliday beat out an infield single and moved to second on a balk. Giambi fired the closing shot on Verlander’s day by hitting a homerun of his own to give the A’s the 4-1 lead. Suzuki would double Crosby in for the fifth run later in the game.

Braden was relieved by Brad Ziegler in the eighth, who gave up a leadoff single, but would recover nicely with a strikeout and a double-play. Ziegler looks like the 2008 version, and a quality set-up man. Andrew Bailey--seldom seen lately--pitched the ninth in the non-save situation, and struck out the side, bringing his ERA down to 2.09, and continuing to make his case for the A’s representative to the All-Star team.

All in all, it was a solid win top to bottom, and it’s certainly a big series win for a team so far under .500. The Tigers are leading the central division. More importantly, it gave the A’s a good series under their belt before they embark on the road trip leading up to the All-Star break; they play in Cleveland this weekend, and Boston and Tampa Bay next week. First pitch 4:05 on Friday night; see you there!