Tonight's game has to be counted as a low-light of the season, as the A's lose in extra innings to the team with the worst record in baseball, who lost 9 out of 10 coming into the park tonight. The A's had every opportunity to win this game, but despite being set up nicely by the Twins, the A's couldn't score more than one earned run. It took until the tenth inning, but the A's finally succumbed, losing 4-3 in what was their tenth extra inning game. One interesting note on the game; the only walk of the night by either team was an intentional one in the ninth. Both pitchers threw a lot of strikes.
Brandon McCarthy may have thrown too many strikes; he was extremely hittable in tonight's game, finishing with 7 IP, 9 H, and 3 ER. Or maybe the first batter of the game threw him off. In a play that was scored 1-5, a line drive slammed off McCarthy's back/shoulder and careened to Kouzmanoff for the out to start the game. He would give up a double and a run-scoring single later in the inning to give the Twins the lead.
The A's tied the game and took the lead in the second after a Swingle and a throwing error by newcomer Trevor Plouffe. This put runners on second and third with two outs. Kouzmanoff singled them both in. The ever-elusive shut-down inning didn't happen, as McCarthy promptly gave back the two runs.
The A's would tie the game at 3 in the bottom of the sixth, after a double by Barton and a single by Matsui. The A's had a great chance to win the game in the ninth inning, after a one-out double by Suzuki and an intentional walk to Ryan Sweeney, but Ellis showed up the umpire on what he thought was ball four, and failed to swing the bat even though everyone in the stadium knew he'd be punched out, regardless of where the next pitch was. Jackson grounded out to end the inning.
The bullpen was stellar tonight; Balfour and Wuertz breezed through their innings, allowing nothing for the Twins, but Brian Fuentes was the recipient of a no-win situation after giving up a leadoff basehit. The next batter bunted to Barton, who had a great shot at second base...but threw it into the outfield. With runners at second and third and no one out, only the A's would find a way to lose in that situation. It took two batters, but the Twins delivered and won the game. Granted, the A's still had one at-bat left, but if they made Joe Nathan return to form, they had no chance against Matt Capps.
It's easy to pin the game on the one play, but c'mon. Carl Freakin' Pavano? If you can't score more than a run against him, your offense didn't do enough to deserve a win. And we didn't.
Tyson Ross will try to lead the A's back to two games over .500, and back to first place, starting tomorrow afternoon at 12:35. I will be hosting the thread then. We can hope for the return of Coco Crisp, missing today to tend to a "family matter". He could be back tomorrow.
Twins lead the series 1-0
WP: Joe Nathan (1 - 1)
SV: Matt Capps
LP: Brian Fuentes (1 - 4)
|3 - 4 loss|