Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Slap Hitter: A's Biggest Win—better than Perfect?

By Kibby Kleiman
Wed, May 12, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Last night, the Oakland Athletics walked into their personal house of horrors and strolled out in first place. The Texas Rangers don't scare many but they beat the A's in their home park pretty much since it was built. The Athletics entered trailing the Arlington boys by a game in the standings and were on the short side of a 2-0 score when Eric Chavez went deep for the first time since we've had a Democratic administration. Then the A's coughed up a 4-3 lead, a 5-4 lead and then a 6-5 lead. It had all the makings of a Texas two-game step when lo and behold the A's took and held a 7-6 ball game. With the nation's eyes briefly on Oakland's baseball team (Dallas Braden on Letterman!), the A's didn't blink.

This was a game, in seasons past, the Athletics would have lost in gruesome fashion long before the 13th inning. The smoke machine is working overtime and the mirrors must be especially strong because the Oakland A's do not look like a first division club. With no power, and a pair of starters from Triple A and everybody else injured, it's the kind of team that will drive the sabermaticians mad. The Athletics are winning because of um, intangibles that defy measurement. (How much heart?)

But the best news for A's fans is that May is usually the cruelest month for the Green and Gold, and this one is holding steady. The hurt lockers will be replenished starting with home run leader, Kurt Suzuki, tonight, and if the team can just hold serve through the road trip in Texas and Anaheim, it will be June before we know it.

The A's are going to get a few more minutes in the national eye. Perfect pitcher Dallas Braden is the cover boy on this week's Sports Illustrated, and the country will get a version of the Mother's Day masterpiece. And while the caravan stays in place, the games play on, and A's fans who have spent the weekend basking in history, are looking towards a road trip where their team is exorcising ghosts.


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