Do you hear that? It's kind of like a rumbling sound. It seems to be picking up speed.
Okay. Now that we've been swept up by Big Mo (momentum, not the Sumo wrestler who plays 1st base for the Mets) let's get down to business.
The A's grabbed their 7th in a row last night and there were several highlights to be had. Of course, the main highlight was the faceplant by the portly gentleman in route of Jermaine Dye's homerun in the 3rd that went an estimated 412 feet and then bounced, pounced and rolled for 100 more. Sort of like Big Mo itself. The beauty is that the gent did not catch up to the ball. A young woman who was entering the ballpark late grabbed the ball and then strolled on in through the left field gates. Oh, why must humiliation follow failure? We ask this out loud but have no difficulty watching the highlight on TV over and over again.
Miguel Tejada singled and Eric Chavez followed with foul pole screamer in the first for his second first inning homerun in two days.
"It thought it was going foul," Chavez said. "I hit it pretty hard. I don't know how many other parks that would be a homer."
Dye's homerun gave the A's a 5-0 cushion going into the 5th. Aaron Harang had dodged trouble in the 3rd after a single and a double left runners on second and third with nobody out. Harang found he had items up his sleeve as he got a flyball, a pop out and a ground ball back to the mound to end the threat.
Boom (a debated nickname for Harang, though Big Show is on his bats) has had trouble with pitch counts and getting past the fifth inning since his May call-up. Cleveland started the sixth by taking two walks and an Ellis Burks double to get on the board. With Omar Vizquel on third and Burks on second Jim Thome's ground ball to the right side got a second run in for the Indians. Boom's left shoe came off in the process of covering first, but the wheels were not about to come of with a runner on third and one out. Karim Garcia hit a ball into shallow center. Terrence Long, nicknamed Magellan for his roundabout way of getting to balls (i.e: a nice way of saying he does not read the ball well off the bat), put up his glove hand as if preparing to make a running catch.
''I didn't have a chance to catch it,'' Long said. ''I wanted to see if I could finally deke somebody. I've seen guys do it before, but I've never seen it work.''
Great that it worked. If it doesn't, the run scores and Garcia ends up on second with one out.
"I thought I was going to get caught," Burks said. "I went halfway initially and then I went back to tag up. It was a pretty good throw and he got me at the plate. It was a great play by him. I never saw whether he caught it or not. It was a great play by Long. The only way he could get me was with a great throw. He got me.''
Do you see the difference? Ellis Burks is a veteran which is a nice way of saying Ellis Burks is old. Do you want to know how old Ellis Burks is? He's 206. But, the difference in taking the heat for a play is drastically different than what we've heard from some younger players. Not only does he complement the play, but he takes responsibility for his own actions.
In any case, Big Mo was secure back in the A's dugout. The bullpen was summoned. Jim Mecir came in to wipe up the mess after Micah Bowie walked Matt Lawton.
The A's bullpen has been the stabilizing feature of the A's in the second half. Of course, they lean on solid starting pitching, too. Since the Ricardo Rincon trade in July the A's bullpen has an ERA of 1.07. The run given up in the 7th was the first in 10 innings by Mecir.
Mark Ellis dropped a great two out bunt in the top of the 7th following a Dye single and a David Justice double. The bunt was well orchestrated, whether Howe called for it or not. Ellis made two glances to see how far back Greg LaRocca was playing at third. LaRocca was lifted for pinch hitter in the 8th.
Billy Koch got a 4 out save for his 32nd of the year.
Fit to be Tied
So, the game was over on the field and all that was left is to watch the scoreboard as the Yankees beat the Angels and the Tigers beat the Mariners to bring everybody in line in the AL West and the Wild Card. Rob Neyer's piece on the AL West puts everything into perspective.