Last night was huge. With the A's having an opportunity to eliminate their division rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by simply winning two games in the three-game series, it was crucial they get started on the right foot. With Barry Zito on the mound against rookie phenom Jered Weaver, it was assured to showcase outstanding pitching, with each team's offense challenged to get on the board. The ensuing battle, which went into the twelfth inning, saw the A's come out victorious, thanks to a clutch hit by light-hitting backup infielder Marco Scutaro, who has made this effort one of his trademarks.
The game, which lasted three and a half hours, and was followed by a fireworks spectacular, drew a sellout crowd of more than 35,000 to Oakland, us among them. Zito and Weaver traded zeroes early, until the A's got on the board thanks to Kendall hustling home from first on a double by Mark Kotsay, and later, an Nick Swisher home run to make it 2-0. After the Angels battled back to tie it, Chavez and Bradley each hit home runs to give the A's a 4-3 lead.
It wouldn't last, as due to a ball falling just in front of A's outfielder Jay Payton, the Angels struck to tie the game in the top of the ninth, hushing the crowd, who had been egged on by the antics of Krazy George and "The Banjo Guy", among others. Extra innings saw fireworks from Bradley, who unhappy with a strikeout call from the homeplate umpire, was livid, and looked as if he might want to decapitate the man in blue and ship the results to his next of kin. But the biggest outburst was to await us in the 12th.
Bobby Kielty reached base with a pinch-hit double, and went to third on a ground-out. With Mike Scioscia taking one outfielder into a seldom-used five-man infield, Swisher was intentionally walked, bringing up Scutaro, who ran the count to 0-2 before striking - first foul, and then fair, as his deep fly went untouched, and Kielty trotted home to mass jubilation. Scutaro, after touching first, tried to evade his teammates congratulations, as the "petite" Venezuelan displayed a grin from ear to ear, and the Coliseum erupted with cheers. The A's reduced their magic number to 2 and the Angels, with heads hung, walked off the field.
This afternoon, the A's could wrap it up. We will be there.
Listening to ''Mmm Skyscraper I Love You'', by Underworld (Play Count: 6)
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