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Game #117: Lovable Former A's Rise Up In 8th To Beat Oakland

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The Suzuki method pays off here for the Twins.
The Suzuki method pays off here for the Twins.
Ezra Shaw

There are some former A's it's hard not to like, even when they are occasionally beating you. One of them is Kurt Suzuki, a true "heart and soul member" of the team for years over two stints, and another is Josh Willingham who bombed 29 HRs for the A's, indicated a love for playing here, and never shows up an opponent. And has a wife named Ginger for criminy's sake. How adorable is that?

None of it seemed especially adorable in the top of the 8th in a 1-1 game, following Jason Hammel's best effort yet for Oakland (6⅓ IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and a Houdini act from Fernando Abad in the top of the 7th, surviving a 1st & 3rd one out mess thanks to a botched squeeze and a strikeout.

Enter Luke Gregerson, who had not allowed a run since June 25th (15 appearances, 14 scoreless IP). Gregerson just didn't really have it today, getting into the stretch right away when Danny Santana beat out a bunt to open the inning. Santana stole 2B and stayed there as Brian Dozier flied to CF. Then Gregerson uncorked a wild pitch, served up a booming double off the LF wall to Suzuki, and after striking out Kennys Vargas he hung another slider to Willingham, who porked one -- ok, parked one -- into the LF bleachers. 4-1 Twins.

Not satisfied to let former A's doing all the beating of them, Oakland proceeded to beat itself a bit in the 9th as the Twins pulled away. Jesse Chavez got the first 2 out, then loaded the bases and surrendered a broken bat infield hit (Suzuki again) and walked Vargas to force in a run. 6-1 Twins and the end of a 12-game losing streak to Oakland over the last 2 years.

Speaking of former A's, they taketh away but they also giveth. Yoenis Cespedes bombed a 3-run HR off of Angels' set-up man Joe Smith in the 8th inning of the Angels-Red Sox game. It was Cespedes' first HR with Boston and it broke a 0-0 tie as the Red Sox defeated the Angels 3-1. As a result the A's end the day still 4 games up on the Angels in the AL West.

Onto Kansas City to take on the red hot Royals, winners of 7 straight and just 1 game back of the Tigers (who, as I type this, are headed to the 18th inning at Toronto). Fasten your seat belts for this 4-game series: It's going to be a bumpy ride!