I had my first regular season scoring session at McAfee Coliseum tonight, and witnessed a very fine pitching duel between Dallas Braden and Ian Snell as the Athletics hosted the Mariners for their second game of the season.
Truth be told, I am not the biggest Braden fan, though my pal Jason Grey is. I have asked him about this several times, and, well, I have seen Braden pitch enough times to be suspicious.
Yet tonight I saw some of what Jason must see, for Braden was brilliant over seven innings, limiting Seattle to four hits and a run that scored on a wild pitch, not to mention ten strikeouts, a career high. Braden never threw anything over 85, and at one point struck out Jose Lopez on pitches that were 73, 84, and then 76 MPH in order.
Braden did not get the win, though Kurt Suzuki belted a nice homer, and Mark Ellis won the game with a single, his third hit of the evening in the bottom of the tenth.
Also worthy of note, Andrew Bailey pitched a solid ninth, and Ian Snell, who started for the Mariners, turned in six pretty good innings as well, walking four, and allowing a three hits over his stint (including the Suzuki tater).
Finally, Kanekoa Texeira made his major league debut and took the loss, although he pitched out of a tough jam in the ninth before Oakland and Ellis got to him in the tenth.