Scott Sizemore's pinch hit grand slam broke a 3-3 tie as part of a 5-run top of the 6th, and then the A's had to hang on, hang on, hang on as their 8-3 lead became 8-5...8-7...and if you thought getting the 27th out was difficult in general, try getting it when the umpires make bad calls, presumably in braille.
Starting at the end, with the A's clinging to an 8-7 lead, Josh Hamilton at 1B and two out, Andrew Bailey, who has never blown a save after the All-Star break but had also never saved a game at Arlington, got Michael Young to hit a bouncer to the SS hole. Cliff Pennington made an excellent play, backhanding it and firing the ball across the diamond to a stretching Brandon Allen a clear 1/2 step ahead of Young. "Sa-ayfe!" yelled a blind man named James Hoy, and Bob Melvin came out to argue heartily though Hoy probably didn't see him. And so Bailey had to retire Adrian Beltre, which he did on a liner to 2Bman Adam Rosales.
Why Rosales? Rewind to the top of the 8th when the A's training staff rivaled Hoy for bewildering decisions. Jemile Weeks fouled off a 3-1 pitch, winced and grabbed his hamstring, but the A's decided to let Weeks finish the at bat (he took a called third strike) before inserting Rosales for the bottom of the inning. There were limited possibilities here. If Weeks had put the ball in play, a guy who had just grabbed his hamstring would have to run. Or if Weeks was ordered to take the 3-2 pitch, if he walked the A's would have had to pinch run for him anyway. Baffling, especially considering Weeks has been one of the few bright spots in a disappointing season.
It was a meh day for Trevor Cahill, charged with 5 runs in 5+ innings, but sparkling defense, a clutch 5-out "hold" by Grant Balfour, Bailey exorcising his Texas demons, and a great game in just 4 innings by Sizemore, gave the A's a much needed win, their first in the last 10 tries against the Rangers. And all they needed to do was hit a grand slam and get 28 outs!
However, as bad as the A's defense was last night it was outstanding today. Ryan Sweeney and Josh Willingham each made circus catches in the same inning, Pennington made a diving stop to the right of 2B to get Mitch Moreland on a bouncer up the middle, and the first out of the 9th came when Sizemore reached into the A's dugout to make a sensational catch of Ian Kinsler's foul pop up. Sizemore was so close to falling into the A's dugout that Kurt Suzuki put him in a bear hug to protect him -- a foul pop up that could be scored 5-2.