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Gload's hit in 9th snaps A's streak
Wherever the Oakland Athletics go, there is sure to be talk about "Moneyball" last season's best-selling book that highlighted the unorthodox ways the A's put their club together.
Many in baseball have downplayed the A's theories of focusing on high on-base percentages, taking a lot of pitches and disdaining the stolen base.
"They don't win because of their on-base percentage," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They win because they have a great pitching staff."
Indeed, the A's lead the American League with the only sub-4.00 team ERA, at 3.95 at the start of play Wednesday.
The trio of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito may be the best threesome in baseball and 22-year old Rich Harden looks like in he will fit right in with them.
The four are a combined 46-22 through Tuesday with Wednesday's starter, Zito, scuffling along at just 10-9 after Wednesday's no-decision.
Ross Gload's pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth scored Willie Harris with the winning run as the Sox rallied past the A's 5-4, sanpping the A's eight-game winning streak.
The Sox came back from a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the seventh on consecutive RBI hits by Joe Crede, Aaron Rowand and Roberto Alomar.
Jamie Burke led off the ninth with his third hit of the game. After Harris came in to run for Burke, Joe Borchard moved him over with his first career sacrifice bunt.
Gload, hitting for Crede, then lashed a single to right field off losing pitcher Justin Duchscherer. It was Gload's 28th RBI of the season on just his 46th hit.
Jason Grilli had his second straight decent start, although he left the game trailing 4-1. He gave up three runs in the first two innings but worked out of a couple jams.
"He threw well," Burke said. "I thought his control was a lot better. You have to tip your hat to him. That's something we might have been missing this season."
Guillen has been solidly behind Grilli since spring training, yet Felix Diaz, Jon Rauch, Arnie Munoz and Josh Stewart all were called up before him.
"I don't think Grilli was pitching the way they thought he should [at Triple-A Charlotte]," Guillen said. "Diaz was the best we had in the minor leagues."
Guillen said Tuesday that next season the Sox have to do a better job of getting men on base for their home-run hitters. The A's have drawn 74 more walks than the Sox and have been shut out only twice, compared to seven for the Sox.
Guillen wants to try to find a mixture of speed and high on-base percentage hitters to go with his power game. The Sox have been overly weighted on sluggers the last few seasons.
"You won't win games with [just] slugging," Guillen said. "You will win games with guys on base, and we aren't doing that good enough."
Certainly not as well as the A's, who rank fourth in the league with their .345 on-base percentage. The Sox rank eighth at .334.
And for those who worry that the possible loss of Magglio Ordonez to free agency would be disastrous, the A's have proven the loss of a superstaror twocan be overcome.
Despite losing two Most Valuable Players in Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada, the A's have made four straight trips to the postseason with a good chance to make it five this year.
Or two more than the Sox have made in the last 21 years.