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Recap: Rangers @ A’s Game 161

October 2, 2012

The A’s stand tied with the Rangers with identical 93-68 records with one game to play following tonight’s 3-1 A’s win. Unbelievable. This entire season has just been one crazy moment to the next, and now the A’s will play with a chance to win their first American League West crown since 2006.

  • The Rangers managed one run against starter Travis Blackley, when Josh Hamilton doubled home Ian Kinsler in the top of the third. That gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead that the A’s would take back. It also would be the only run the Rangers would get. Blackley, who is yet another savvy Beane pick up, finished his season by pitching six innings of one earned run, three hit, two walk and five strikeout baseball. He will finish his season with the A’s with a 3.86 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 1.2 WAR. He threw 102 2/3 innings for Oakland, managing 6.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9 in 24 appearances, 15 as starts. Blackley really was a great acquisition not only because he pitched well but because he gave the A’s a very effective swingman, filling in as needed as a spot starter or long distance reliever. The Australia native picked up a big win tonight.
  • The common trio of Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour also deserve credit. The trio faced one above the minimum (Cook faced four) as the shutdown the Rangers offense to hold onto the slim lead. Balfour who recorded his 24th save struck out two. While both Doolittle and Cook allowed a hit each.
  • The A’s took the lead on a single by Derek Norris that coupled with a Nelson Cruz error resulted in two A’s runs as both Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss scored. The A’s added on with Jonny Gomes‘ 18th home run. In essence this was a microcosm of the entire season as Blackley (a cast off from San Francisco) earned the victory, Norris (who made his MLB debut with Oakland this year), Moss (a cast off of Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) and Donaldson who was written off earlier this year before an injury thrust him into a starting role and he seized it. What a cool game to sort of demonstrate what this entire season has been like.
  • The A’s really just got what they could in this one. They didn’t put many men in scoring position going 1-for-3, didn’t strand many (three) and really didn’t hit particularly well: 6-for-29 (.207) with a walk and nine strikeouts. But they got hits when they needed it and coupled with a very strong pitching performance and what is looking like a very effective game shortening team
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