One thing about these 2012 Oakland Athletics: We shouldn't give up on them.
Not when they're 13 games out of first place almost halfway through the season. And not when they're down 5-1 in the fourth inning of what's essentially a one-game playoff for the American League West title.
After taking a 1-0 lead over the Rangers in the first inning of today's championship game, the A's and starting pitcher A.J. Griffin gave up five sloppy runs in the top of the third. It would have been easy, at that point, to assume that sanity and reason and statistical likelihood had finally taken over, and would sit atop its arrogant throne for at least the rest of the afternoon.
That assumption wouldn't survive for even two full innings. Because in the bottom of the fourth, the A's strung together four straight hits off Rangers starter Ryan Dempster; the second of them was Josh Reddick's run-scoring double to the wall in left-center, and the fourth was Seth Smith's single that plated Reddick.
And with that, Ron Washington came out and yanked Dempster, with two runners aboard, nobody out, and the deficit suddenly only two runs. Derek Holland trotted in from the bullpen, and got a couple of quick outs ... only to watch as Coco Crisp shot a line drive into the right-field corner, fair by just a foot or so as two runners came around to make the score 5-5.
After walking Stephen Drew, Holland escaped even more damage by getting Yoenis Cespedes to lift a high fly to short center field, where Josh Hamilton
made the easy catch dropped it! While both runners were circling the bases, with Cespedes landing on second. That made the score 7-5, the carnage finally ending when Brandon Moss hit a sharp grounder to first base.