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One Strike Makes All the Difference In A's Loss

AN Tailgate tomorrow will on the east side of the North Lot A, at the end of rows 12-14 at 3pm.

The fact that Bob Geren was still managing this game when it came to an end shows that either he's over this season, or he somehow missed the ball/strike call that handed this game to the Tigers and handed Gio Gonzalez a very tough loss. Most managers would have found themselves kicked out at several different points in this game, and there was one questionable call that would ultimately decide how tonight's game would go.

Gio gave the Tigers the early lead as he gave up a solo homerun to Ryan Raburn in the first. The A's would tie the game in the second on a Jack Cust single, who would go 3 for 4 on the night, but Gio would give up another homerun to Ryan Raburn in the third to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead.

The A's had a golden chance to tie the game in the fifth inning, as a leadoff single by Barton, an error, and a sac bunt by Pennington put the runner at third, but the "going on contact" decision cost the A's dearly. Kennedy grounded to Polanco, and Barton was thrown out at the plate.

Gio would take the mound again in the sixth inning, still down 2-1. Two one-out walks gave the Tigers runners at 1st and 2nd, but Gio recorded his ninth and tenth strikeouts to end the inning with no further damage.

Well, that's how it should have happened.

What actually happened was that Gio struck out his ninth batter (new career high), but on his last batter of the evening, a clear strike three was called ball two, and Gio's signature curveball-after-the-fastball was pounded up the middle to drive in the Tigers' third--and ultimately game-winning--run.

Brad Ziegler replaced Gio and threw two pitches to get out of the inning to keep the score at 3-1. He also threw a scoreless seventh inning and recorded two outs in the eighth, lowering his ERA to 2.59.

Jack Cust singled (again) to open the seventh inning for the A's, and Tommy Everidge came in as a pinch-hitter. He ended up striking out on a much more debatable pitch than Gio's last; and that's the point where Geren should have gone ballistic. Instead, he didn't even make an appearance, and Everidge headed back to the dugout without comment. Kennedy would walk to move Cust to second, and this would bring up Rajai Davis with two outs. Davis continued to deliver; this time a double down the line, which scored Cust, but couldn't score Kennedy. It can be hotly debated whether you can take the two-out chance of a bad throw and send the runner, but Gallego held Kennedy and Suzuki struck out, as the A's came up a run short.

Marshall and Wuertz polished off the eighth and ninth innings with no damage, and the A's teased us once more in their half of the ninth. Cust singled (again) to open the ninth inning, and Everidge--looking as awkward as possible (and with his hands in a dangerous position)--pushed a sacrifice bunt up the first base line. Nomar Garciaparra as the pinch-hitter hit a rocket that should have tied the game, but Polanco made an amazing play to pick the ball and throw him out.

You aren't going to win a lot of games scoring two runs, but this was one that was within reach. Gio pitched a lot better than the 3 runs and the loss he got, and the nine strikeouts is an encouraging sign. The A's, with some help from behind the place and the Tigers' defense, just came up empty.

We try it again tomorrow night; Cahill on the mound, ANers in the stands!