Ouch. This one hurts a little bit. After all of the magic of the last week and a stunningly exciting ninth inning, I really thought the A's were going to take this one. With Texas' loss tonight, they would be within 4.5 games of the division lead. But sadly, the A's just couldn't pull this one out, and now have very few hours before they have to play the rubber game.
After an hour rain delay, we got tonight's game started. And for those of you who think you have lost the biting the fingernails, hiding under the couch feeling, it all came back today as the game threads extended five and a half hours.
Both starters were excellent tonight, as R.A. Dickey held the A's to three hits and one run in his eight innings, while Gio Gonzalez pitched a one-run, seven-inning affair of his own. The Mets would score their run in the second inning on a double and a single. The A's would need only one hit to tie the game; a homerun from an unlikely source, Kurt Suzuki, in the fifth inning.
The Mets would untie the game off Joey Devine in the eighth inning; a triple from Reyes (nearly caught by Sweeney) and a single from Justin Turner gave the Mets a 2-1 lead. Usually this is the part where the A's lose the game, but showing grit and scrappiness, the A's fought back. After Cliff Pennington (who was terrible tonight) struck out to start the ninth against K-Rod, Coco Crisp doubled to get into scoring position. After Matsui was called out on strikes, Coco Crisp stole third on what appeared to be the worst defensive indifference call of all time. Without being able to throw a pitch in the dirt, K-Rod surrendered a single to Conor Jackson, which tied the game.
A parade of relievers would follow for the A's; Breslow, Fuentes, Wuertz and Ziegler, and although there were many Mets runners left on base, the Mets would not score until Ziegler's second inning of work. I think it's inexcusable that Bailey wasn't used, especially on the road. I think you have to play the game with your best reliever, especially since Ziggy was working well over 30 pitches.
But all the A's could do was prolong the game. A nice diving catch by Sweeney (blowing a bubble with his gum in the process), and a diving catch by Matsui saved the game temporarily, but the offense just couldn't break through. Finally, the Mets were able to, loading the bases to set the table for the win. Ziegler hit the final batter, forcing in the run.
The A's need to recover tomorrow; a series win would erase tonight's loss.
3 game series vs Mets @ Citi Field
WP: Josh Outman (3 - 1)
SV: Grant Balfour
LP: Dillon Gee (7 - 1)
|7 - 3 win|
WP: Bobby Parnell (2 - 1)
LP: Brad Ziegler (2 - 1)
|2 - 3 loss|