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A's Rise From Ashes To Destroy White Sox for Series Win

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It didn't look good for the green and gold as today's game went into the ninth inning. Plagued by more sloppy play, including another Kouzmanoff error, the A's found themselves on the short end of a 4-1 deficit heading into today's final inning. Brett Anderson struggled with his two-strike pitches, the A's offense looked listless as usual, and several blatant missed signs from the dugout combined with errors and misplays designated this game for the White Sox's win column.

But then something amazing happened.

Against all odds, the A's rallied back from three down to tie the game and force extra innings for yet another day (all three games went into extras this series), finally putting the White Sox away for good in the tenth inning, as Brian Fuentes even had the luxury of a 3-run save. After a day of frustrating innings, A's fans got all they could want and more in the ninth and tenth.

The A's got on the board in the top of the fourth, as Hideki Matsui hit his second homerun of the young season, giving the A's the early 1-0 lead. But Anderson's error allowed a runner in the fifth, and a double tied the game for the White Sox. Anderson would pitch into the sixth inning, but would be knocked out of the game by more sloppy A's play; a fielder's choice and a sacrifice bunt would give the White Sox the 3-1 lead.

Breslow would replace Anderson for a scoreless inning and a third, and Ziegler would replace Breslow for the eighth inning. Ziegler would have gotten the A's safely out of the inning unscored upon (despite him and Suzuki missing signals in a pitch-out that would have easily tagged out the runner), but Kevin Kouzmanoff turned the third out into a two-base error and another run scored. I'll be honest; I didn't think the A's would come back from a two-run deficit, much less three, so I didn't figure the ninth inning would be watchable.

I was wrong.

The much-maligned Conor Jackson started the inning with a double. Willingham promptly singled him in, and the teAse was on. Matsui singled, the White Sox changed pitchers, the A's replaced Matsui with Coco Crisp (this would be important later), and Kouzmanoff with Barton (yes, really). It worked, though; Barton walked to load the bases.

And then A's fans everywhere were certain that the team was just teasing us. Kurt Suzuki maddeningly, frustrating, annoyingly struck out with the bases loaded with no one out (that just can't happen) and after the White Sox changed pitchers yet again (I worry about Matt Thorton after his fourth consecutive blown save), Ryan Sweeney maddeningly, frustrating, annoyingly struck out with the bases loaded and one out. I would have a lot to say on that matter, but luckily for our previous two batters, Cliff  "Moneypenny" made the best of his at-bat and knocked a soft single to center field, driving in the tying runs.

The bottom of the ninth (and tenth) was interestingly defensively; as Conor Jackson took over third base, Barton to first, and Sweeney to right. Grant Balfour nearly struck out the side (two K's and a pop-up) and we would play bonus baseball.

The A's looked more like winners than they ever have during the tenth inning. After Mark Ellis grounded out, Conor Jackson and Willingham walked, bringing up pinch-runner Coco Crisp. Crisp wasted no time in singling in the go-ahead run, and promptly stealing second base, putting two runners in scoring position for Daric Barton. He would put the icing on the already-impressive cake; singling in both runs to give Brian Fuentes and the A's an unheard-of three-run cushion. Fuentes made quick work of the White Sox, and before we knew it, the A's had won the series! Combined with Texas' loss, the A's gain another game and are now at .500 and 3 games behind.

Our heroes don't have a chance to rest; they are in the air flying home right now to open a four-game series with the Tigers tomorrow night. We'll see you back here at 7:05, unless you are going to the game!