Back-to-back shutouts, 20 consecutive scoreless innings, and a 3-game series in which the Giants were held to one run. That's what the A's pitching staff, led today by Ben Sheets (6 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 8 K), accomplished to hit the road over .500 and just 2 games shy of 1st place.
It was still 0-0 in the 7th when the umps blew a call and Bob Geren blew a gasket. With a runner at 1st and nobody out, Juan Uribe appeared to strike out on a Michael Wuertz slider foul-tipped into Kurt Suzuki's mitt, but 1B umpire Greg Gibson incorrectly overruled that the ball had hit the dirt before Suzuki caught it. A livid Geren pled his case all the way to an ejection and though Wuertz uncorked a wild pitch later in an at bat that should have been over, from there it was all Oakland.
Uribe struck out, Rowand sizzled a line drive right to Kouzmanoff, Wuertz got Renteria on a comebacker to end the inning, and then the A's turned to "Dumbball" to score in the 7th and 8th.
In the 7th, Adam Rosales singled and it was Mark Ellis who was asked to bunt -- because Jake Fox and Gabe Gross were such terrific hitters to have up against Jonathan Sanchez. It worked, because Fox ripped a fantastic double to give the A's a 1-0 lead.
In the 8th, Rajai Davis walked and Daric Barton, as has happened far too many times this season, was asked to bunt the runner to second. That worked out well too, as Kurt Suzuki singled home one, and following a Kouzmanoff single, Ryan Sweeney slapped a signature single to LF to make it 3-0.
The story, luckily, is not the A's misguided obsession with the sacrifice bunt. It's the pitching staff holding the Giants to a single run in 27 innings. The A's are now 18-9 at home, but will spend tomorrow packing for Baltimore where they put their 5-13 road record to the test beginning on Tuesday. My advice for the upcoming road trip: Don't count on the pitching staff to post a 0.33 ERA, and score some runs before the 7th.
There are many zeros in br00000000000000m!