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A's, Wuertz Hang On For Dear Life

With Andrew Bailey unavailable and the A's clinging to a 5-4 lead in the 9th, Denard Span hit a rocket that looked, off the bat, like it might decapitate Wuertz and leave him clinging to life. That, however, turned out to be "Wuertz-case scenario," as the A's slider specialist -- who had just fanned pinch-hitter Justin Morneau after an epic slider-fest -- calmly reached the glove up above his face and snatched victory from the jaws of {something clever}.

First things first: Gio Gonzalez came up huge today in a game the A's really needed. He threw strikes, ignored multiple early cases of shoddy defense and seeing eye hits, and limited the Twins to just 2 runs in 7 innings. Gio threw a career high 117 pitches, 79 strikes. This was a "carry you on my shoulders" effort to be proud of.

In contrast, Nick Blackburn probably won't be bragging about his 2.2 IP, 10 hit performance, but his bullpen kept him in the game with 5.1 IP shutout innings, and when Delmon Young {shakes fist at nemesis} clobbered a two-run HR in the 8th off of Tyson Ross, it was a one-run game with no Bailey in sight.

Enter Wuertz for the 9th, armed with the slider we saw in 2009. He got Punto -- imagine that, throwing Punto strikes -- and then struck out Morneau -- imagine that, pitching to the guy with one out and the bases empty -- and took matters into his own hands, instead of his face, and for that we're all grateful.

With the Rangers losing and the Angels winning (as of this writing), there's a logjam developing atop the AL West and the Angels are coming to town for a 4-game series. I LEEVE FOR THEES!