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To Braden, A's, It May As Well Have Been A Perfect Game

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Oh there were baserunners, leads chipped away to precious little, but to Dallas Braden -- winning for the first time since his May 9th perfect game -- and to the A's, now two games over .500 and winning series against contenders, it was perfect enough.

The key hits were back-to-back two out, two-run singles in the 2nd by Daric Barton and Kurt Suzuki, the latter of whom added an RBI hit to drive in three for the day. Meanwhile, Braden was outstanding, pitching into the 7th with all his pitches working and shutting down the White Sox after they nicked him for a 1st inning run.

The not-so-perfect part? With the A's leading 6-1 in the 7th, two on and one out, and Gordon Beckham due up, I thought Bob Geren managed the bullpen pretty badly. He brought in Brad Ziegler for just one hitter, then yanked him for Jerry Blevins with the left-hand hitting Juan Pierre coming up. Following Pierre were Alexi Ramirez, then Rios, Konerko, Quentin. That's the group for whom you save Ziegler, rather than using him for one hitter and then being stuck with Blevins in the game facing powerful RH batters.

I would have either liked to see Braden face one more hitter (Beckham) or seen Ziggy stay in for the long haul. Luckily, it worked out well enough as the White Sox settled for 3 runs and Konerko -- representing the go-ahead run -- was retired by Craig Breslow, and Michael Wuertz pitched a 1-2-3 9th.

Another thought: Man oh man I wish the A's had gotten in on the Danny Haren trade. The Angels just acquired a really, really good pitcher who is under contract for multiple seasons (through 2012 with a club option for 2013), and they did it by parting with Joe Saunders and a couple minor league pitchers -- one of whom, Pat Corbin, looks like a good prospect, but that's hardly a king's ransom to give up for someone of Haren's quality and contract status. The A's couldn't do one better and lock up a front-of-the-rotation guy to augment the young talent for the next few years? Bummer.


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