The A's are running hard now, and you had better believe the Rays' bullpen hears footsteps. For the second day in a row, the A's, finally told by their manager that they need to play hard if they want to play, spotted Tampa Bay a lead after 6 innings, waited until the 7th to start scoring, then battled and won.
Brett Anderson tossed 4 shutout innings, but presumably the tight back he reported before the game finally got the best of him -- either that or a recurrence of a blister problem, soreness in the forearm, gout, scurvy, or A's Vortex Syndrome was the cause, as the A's didn't immediately clarify.
It was 0-0 until the bottom of the 6th, when the Rays struck for 3 runs in a two-out rally against Brad Ziegler and Michael Wuertz. But deja vuly (I just made that up), the A's rallied to take the lead in the 7th, this time putting 4 runs on the board. It started with a Matt Holliday double, but what put the A's on the board was Kurt Suzuki's RBI single, one of 3 hits on the day for...a guy Joe Maddon didn't select for the All-Star Game. The day after Maddon's team was beaten by...Dallas Braden.
Anyhoo, run #2 was driven in by pinch-hitter Jack Cust, who didn't start maybe partly because he's been slumping, maybe partly because he's a bad matchup with James Shields (and was 2/15 career). It's the new meritocracy, and under it the A's are 2-0. Mark Ellis' FC grounder (productive out sighting!) and Orlando Cabrera's single (hit with RISP sighting!) gave the A's 4 runs off of 4 Rays' pitchers in the 7th.
Maddon tried two more relievers in the 8th and 9th and the A's tried 3 more insurance runs, all charged to J.P. Howell, who had turned in 16 scoreless appearances in a row before running into the "NFUCKs" ... What? It stands for "Newly Fired Up Comeback Kids." You don't like it? Well, Mark Ellis doesn't like it when Ben Zobrist goes in hard to 2B on an inning ending FC, and he told Zobrist so, with a little steam eminating from his unicorn horn -- shortly before the A's would rally, tie the game on Ellis' FC, rally some more, and cap their 7-run outburst with an Ellis HR.
It's ok to be a little mean, lads. And it's ok to bust your tail, and grind out every at bat, every play, every base, from the first pitch right down to the last pitch. And it's ok to play good baseball -- which this team CAN. And did, this weekend. Well done.