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Pitching to the rescue for A's
By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor
Athletics team report
(Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics have been able to overcome a slow
start and a slumping Miguel Tejada thanks to their bread and butter --
Oakland has won its last four games and seven of its past nine to improve its
overall record to 15-10.
On the year, Oakland leads the American League in ERA at 3.42. During the
recent successful stretch, the pitching staff has upped its performance by
allowing an average of 2.3 runs over the last nine games.
While the starting pitching has been predictably strong all year, Oakland's
bullpen has impressed of late by not allowing a run over the past four
Closer Keith Foulke has surrendered just one earned run over his last eight
appearances, while collecting four saves in five opportunities. In his only
blown save on April 22, the A's still managed to rally for a 6-5 victory over
the Detroit Tigers in 11 innings.
In Oakland's past two games, the bullpen held the fort and gave the offense a
chance to rally for the win. On Saturday, the A's snapped a 3-3 tie in the
seventh before going on to a 6-3 win over Cleveland, then Oakland claimed a
4-3 victory in its last at-bat on Sunday in the series finale.
With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Erubiel Durazo singled off
Cleveland closer Danys Baez, who then retired the next two batters. Terrence
Long, though, drilled a 2-2 pitch into the right-center field gap to score
Durazo with the winning run.
Sunday's triumph for Oakland completed a three-game sweep of Cleveland.
Former Indian Ricardo Rincon (2-1) earned the victory, allowing just one hit
over two scoreless innings of relief.
Rincon has been huge out of the bullpen for the A's, as evidenced by his 2.84
ERA this season. The lefthander, who gave up a walk to his only batter faced
on Saturday, hasn't allowed a run over his last 9 1/3 innings of work,
spanning seven outings.
"Scratch out yesterday and that's about four outings in a row where he's been
excellent," Oakland manager Ken Macha said of Rincon. "He had good movement on
the ball and his slider was real good. I'm glad he got the win.
"It was a great homestand. We'd like to carry some of that momentum on the
The A's are 12-3 in their park this season, but just 3-7 on the road, where
they play their next six games.
Second baseman Mark Ellis has gone 10-for-24 (.416) over his last six games
with six RBI. First baseman Scott Hatteberg has collected a hit in all but one
of his last 10 games.
Tejada continues to struggle. The shortstop, who is batting just .163 this
season, has only two hits in his last 18 at-bats. He has committed seven
errors in 25 games as well.
The A's begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday when they open a three-game
series with the Chicago White Sox. Oakland finishes the swing with a set
against the Yankees in the Bronx.
04/29 16:02:26 ET
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