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Brandon McCarthy Gives Up Run

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That's really all you need to know. Yes, McCarthy pitched brilliantly, firing 8 IP of 4 hit, 1 run ball, but these are the A's who can't score against anybody, let alone Felix Hernandez.

So when Adam Kennedy HRed in the bottom of the 4th, that was that, 1-0 Mariners. The A's would put up a couple late threats, allowing Bob Geren to emerge as a manager unfamiliar with smart choices. He let Conor Jackson bat against the right-handed Jamey Wright with the tying run at 2B in the 8th as Hideki Matsui watched from the bench, then let Kurt Suzuki bat against the right-handed Brandon League with the tying run at 2B in the 9th as Landon Powell, 5 for 11 this season, watched from the bench. Matsui watched the final out from the on deck circle, never getting an actual plate appearance. Nice.

There is no way Kennedy's HR was that important -- a pitcher has to be able to give up a run in a complete game effort, no matter how he gives it up -- but let me just make a point about the HR. The count was 3-1 and the Mariners' lineup is so anemic, so hard-pressed to put together a sustained rally, that you had to know, especially going up against Hernandez where you couldn't afford to give up even a single run, that the big threat was that a Seattle hitter would run into one. At Safeco field, in that situation, you have to pitch away.

Not that it would have mattered, because you have to score a run to win a baseball game and the A's are, apparently, incapable of doing that much to back their sensational starting pitchers.