Coined "The Spoiler Express" by our announcers tonight, the Oakland A's continue to frustrate the Texas Rangers with dazzling starting pitching and late offensive explosions.
Tonight, it was Cahill's turn on the mound, working within the parameters of an 80 pitch limit. Last start, his 73 pitches translated to three innings, but tonight his 94 pitches took him through the seventh. I'm not sure that he was as good as his ridiculous numbers looked, but I certainly saw quite a few frustrated Texas hitters after their at-bats.
To put it mildly, Cahill's numbers were awesome. After giving up a leadoff single in the second inning, followed by a walk to the next batter, Cahill didn't allow another batter to reach until he issued a two-out walk in the seventh inning.
Meanwhile, the A's ran all over the bases, got timely hits, and scored four runs to complete the road trip at 6-2. Seriously, who is this team???
You know it might be one of the best games the A's have played all year when the only highlight the Texas feed could come up with for the whole game was of Daric Barton being tagged out as he over-slid second base in the seventh. It was a quick, neat, tidy win and it gave the A's the sweep over the Rangers. They now hold a 9-6 season series lead with four left to play next week. They also may be the true spoiler for the Rangers this season.
The A's got on the board early in this contest as Rajai Davis was hit by a pitch and promptly stole second. He would score on Hairston's 2-out ground rule double, giving the A's the 1-0 lead. They would add three more in the sixth on a Kennedy single, a Davis RBI double (he took third on the throw), a Sweeney sac fly, and a Powell homerun. We could have lived without that extra run; it cost Bailey his 25th save.
Cahill breezed through his seven innings of work, looking like the pitcher we know he can be. Wuertz pitched the eighth, and Bailey pitched a 1, 2, 3 non-save ninth, bringing his WHIP to .92 and his ERA to 1.98. C'mon ROY voters; what more do you want!? (Niemann got lit his last time out and Texas is fading fast.)
The A's are 7-3 in their last 10 games; their closer is as good as anyone in the game right now, and their #2 hitter is playing like an MVP. Since July 1st, Rajai Davis leads all outfielders (just ahead of Holliday) with a .357 average. He has 38 R, 37 RBIs, and 28 stolen bases in that time-frame.
The Rangers got booed off the field as the A's flew home, and probably rightly so. Their playoff hopes grow slimmer by the day. Meanwhile the A's, rebuilding for 2010, play the Indians tomorrow at 7:05. Let's keep winning; this is fun!