Good evening and I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday night! The A's managed to win a game for the fans who watched, and they did it all without actually hitting the ball. None of the A's four hits, courtesy of Davis, Healy, Eibner and Maxwell, actually scored a run--the A's in fact had more hits than walks; their five walks won them this game.
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The true story of this game is Zach Neal, who may not have earned the win, but he sure put the A's in position with six very good innings, and actually striking out three, which is the biggest knock on him; he's not at all a strikeout pitcher. Neal started his game by stranding a lead-off double, allowed a solo home run in the second inning, and allowed a couple of singles to set the table for a Healy error in the third to allow the Cardinals to take an early 2-0 lead. The game looked for all the world like a copy of last night's, but the A's fought back.
Bruce Maxwell singled to lead off the fifth inning for the A's, and Zach Neal, proving he can pitch, but can't bunt (just kidding, you don't I don't care at all about made-up NL "rules"), popped up the bunt to third. And with two outs, Semien walked, knocking Alex Reyes out of the game. Ooooh sorry about that, team in a pennant-race! His replacement, one Zach Duke, in a move the Cardinals would soon regret, promptly hit the pinch-hitting Danny Valencia and then proceeded to walk in a run by walking Khris Davis. Ouch.
Down 2-1, the A's bullpen work of Coulombe kept the Cardinals off the board until the A's staged their big comeback in the eighth inning. It's a good thing for the A's that half of their hits tonight came back-to-back, as Davis singled and Healy doubled to put two on with one out. Max Muncy knocked in the tying run on a fielder's choice, followed by an Eibner sac fly that gave the A's what would prove to be the winning run. Ignore Muncy making an out at second base on the play; the A's took the lead 3-2 and that's all that matters. Coulombe, Hendriks and Madson slammed the door in the eighth and ninth innings, and just like that, the A's handed the Cardinals a very valuable loss. Not for the A's, of course, they're golfing in October, but the Cardinals need every game. Won't it be fun when we win tomorrow, too?
The A's and Cardinals play the finale tomorrow at 11:15AM. The A's will be throwing Andrew Triggs.