Going into the eighth inning, it looked like a routine low-scoring Dodger win. The Dodgers had their best relievers lined up, with Belisario having already answered the call. The Troncuilizer would Tronc them in the eighth, and then Big Bad Jon would maul them in the ninth, and the Dodgers would win 2-0, or something close. Back then the offense was in danger of not picking up any unfair win shares. Blake had the best case, but he still had just one RBI. Kershaw and Belisario demanded appreciation for seven shutout innings, and there was a real chance that either Troncoso or Broxton might pick up the last share.
Troncoso started the eight in shaky fashion, giving up two baserunners in three batters, but it still seemed like everything was in control. The double play grounder was coming. We'd seen it before. Giambi up at the plate. He was hitting less than 0.220. Giambi was no threat, not to an ace reliever like Troncoso.
And then: Blast!
That thing just snuck over the wall. I remember being stunned, not able to process what I just saw. How could ---? What? Why isn't the ball bouncing back onto the field? Just like that the Dodgers trailed.
Okay. Oh well, they can reel the A's back in. They only trail by one. The game was fundamentally changed, but victory still seemed possible, even likely. These are the Dodgers. They rally. They win the close games.
And then Bobby Crosby hit a home run. Troncoso had been hit with his own neurotoxin, it seemed. Now he was Troncuilized. Torre made the grim walk to get him. I made the grim assessment that maybe the game wasn't the Dodgers to win. I think the second home run hurt more than the first.
The A's have an average bullpen. Not great, not awful. But Wuertz is pretty good, and the A's must have thought they were close to a win when he came out to start the bottom of the eighth. He had already shut down the Dodgers in the seventh. He strikes out a batter per inning. He was giving up less than a baserunner per inning. ( But not anymore, not after the Dodgers were through with him. ) That's a good reliever. Didn't matter to the Dodgers. They started their comeback against him. Blake drove in another run. Another pitcher came in. A walk. Yet another pitcher came in. Kemp got a hit, then broke up the double play on Ethier's grounder to allow the tying run to score. Geren tried everything he could to stop the Dodgers, win the game, and it was never enough.
Geren even won an argument with an umpire on an out-safe call at a base. I don't know if I've ever seen that before. Usually they consult each other on fair/foul calls, or hit batsmen. But it was the right call. And it didn't matter. Geren was doomed.
The Dodgers wouldn't be denied.
Halfway through that clip you see Geren, disgusted, turning away. That's what it's like to face the Dodgers. You do everything you can, and you still lose.
After that, the clip shows Ethier choking Kemp at the bottom of the pile. How dare you get the walk off hit! Only I may get the walk off hit! Die die die!
Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )
Kemp -- 1
Blake -- 1
Kershaw -- 1
Unfair Loss Shares ( Athletics )
Cust -- 1
Wuertz -- 1
Ziegler -- 1