ED NOTE: Box score of the game.
ED NOTE: WIn 13 of the 20 Game Winning Streak.
The A's got three hits from Ramon Hernandez, Jermaine Dye and David Justice en route to their 13th consecutive win. Oh, and some guy named Corey Lidle pitched 7 innings and didn't give up an earned run.
Lidle gave up only 3 hits on the night, but if you ask Corey, it was three hits too many.
David Justice: Goat
David Justice misplayed a ball in the outfield in the second that allowed Michael Tucker to get to second base. I think misplayed is a misnomer. Justice jogged in. Nonchalantly. The soft line drive careened off his glove. Nonchalantly. Justice chased after the ball in foul ground. Nonchalantly. Tucker ended up on second.
This set off a chain reaction of events that was genuine and sincere and tragic. Brent Mayne grounded out to first and Michael Tucker went to third. Neifi Perez followed with a ground ball to first and Scott Hatteberg went home with the throw. The A's got Tucker in a rundown and he was tagged out at third base. Perez hustled his way into second base with two outs. The A's were cognizant of Lidle scoreless streak and it was also a good move just to nullify any attempts by Kansas City to score early. Luis Ordaz singled to center making the exercise moot, but it was a great ride for Lidle
Come to think of it, Lidle still has a consecutive streak of 38 innings without allowing an earned run. If that's enough for him to focus on and keep runs from scoring, so be it.
Lidle only allowed a single in the 3rd and a walk in the 5th until he was relieved in the 8th by Chad Bradford.
The Frisbee wasn't working for Bradford last night and he faced three batters without retiring any. Ricardo Rincon entered to clean up the mess and hand off the 9th inning duties to Billy Koch. Koch allowed an Ordaz walk but Chuck Knoblauch grounded into a fielder's choice to end it.
Very quietly Billy Koch has racked up 34 saves and is on his way to having the most saves for an Oakland closer since Dennis Eckersly had 43 saves in 1991. The team record is held by Eck with 51, but I don't see Billy Koch getting more than 15 save opportunities for the rest of the year to even come close. Still the next best is Eck with 48 in 1990, that could be attainable if the starters don't start throwing complete games and the offense decides that it wants to get 15+ hits every night. Koch is 34 of 39 (87% success rate) in save opportunities this season and 134 of 159 (85% success rate) for his career.
The A's pulled off a double steal in the 4th with Tejada taking third and Justice taking second behind him. The A's had runners on second and third with nobody out. Nobody scored.
With a lefthander on the mound and the A's winding their season down there are a lot of things to work on. You might see a few more bunts, a few more hit and runs, and even a few more stolen bases before the season is done. The A's are getting into the dog days of summer and it's time to sharpen skills for the close, important games down the strecth. Even if the A's do not utilize sacrifices, it's a good idea to attempt them every once in a while just to keep the thought in the back of an opponenets head.