A's drop rain-shortened affair to Royals, 3-0

April 11, 2012, 6:08 am
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Any fans who toughed the rain for the first seven innings were defeated in the top of the eighth, when a cell moved over the Coliseum resulting in a substantial downpour. The game officially entered a rain delay at 10:01 p.m. as the tarp was rolled onto the field.The rain didn't stop falling all game, and neither did the A's batting averages. They were overmatched at the plate against power lefty and California native Danny Duffy. Cliff Pennington delivered Oakland's only hit, and Duffy finished with eight strikeoutsGraham Godfrey, making his fifth career start, did not fare as well. He was touched up for six hits and two runs.Persistent rain gave Jim Joyce's umpire crew the incentive they needed to officially call the game at 11:07 p.m.
It was the first rain-shortened game in Oakland since the A's were denied a chance to come back from a 16-7 ninth-inning deficit to the Rangers in 2005.
Starting pitching report: A's fourth starter Graham Godfrey had to wait six games before he got the nod, thanks to scheduling. He had to wait an additional 43 minutes to make his first start, thanks to rain.Three-up, three-down innings in the third and fifth book-ended a troublesome fourth, in which the Royals pushed across two runs. Still, it was a flared single and a defensive miscue that spurred the Royals' rally, and Godfrey did well to limit the damage.Godfrey threw 85 pitches to get through six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out one. He took the loss in the first start of his first full MLB season.Bullpen report: Godfrey lasted six innings, giving way to Jerry Blevins in the seventh. The second pitch Blevins threw, an 89-mph fastball, was turned around by Mitch Maier for a solo home run to right field and a 3-0 Royals lead.At the plate: The A's looked patient against Danny Duffy early. Duffy, a California coast native who earned two wins in Oakland last year, was coaxed into 22 first-inning pitches. Jemile Weeks set the tone for the patient approach, seeing eight pitches before flying out in the A's first at-bat.But patience doesn't score runs. The A's managed just one hit against Duffy -- a double by Cliff Pennington in the nine-hole.Duffy looked good, mixing change-ups in the 70s with curve balls in the 80s and fastballs in the mid-90s over six innings of eight-strikeout baseball. He topped out at 97 mph on his seventh pitch of the game.The A's narrowly avoided instant offense in the sixth inning when Yoenis Cespedes smashed a no-doubter just wide of the left-field foul pole.In the field: Bob Melvin penciled Collin Cowgill and Anthony Recker into the lineup for the first time this season. Cowgill made Melvin look good in the second inning when, with two runners on and two away, Chris Getz roped a ball to right. It looked like the Royals would be on the board with extra bases, but Cowgill, who was playing shallow against the nine-hitter, recovered nicely, racing into the right-field corner to make the over-the-shoulder catch and end the inning.Over in center field, Yoenis Cespedes didn't have the same success on his tough play. Mike Moustakas sent one towards the 400-foot sign in dead center field. Cespedes had a beat on it, and tracked it to his glove, but he couldn't squeeze it. The bobbled ball fell safely to the warning track and the Royals were in business in the fourth.With a runner on and no outs in the seventh inning, Getz sharply grounded a ball to the right of second base. Weeks went down to field it on the backhand with delusions of a highlight-reel double play in mind. He failed to glove the ball cleanly, though, and was forced to bat the ball towards second with his bare hand. Pennington picked up the rolling ball bare-handed to record the force out.On the bases: Pennington, hitting out of the nine-hole, got the A's first knock. Standing on second base after he smacked a double, his mind must have strayed a moment, and Duffy took advantage. The Royals picked off Pennington for the one-four putout, and it was back to the drawing board for Oakland.Attendance: If ever you wanted to communicate with the players on the field, Tuesday was the day to do it.Steady rain delaying the battle between two of the four youngest teams in the majors drove down the attendance numbers as the announced crowd of 10,670 seemed much more sparse.That said, the right-field bleacher crowd -- rowdy on the second unofficial celebration of Bacon Tuesday -- showed ample life and could be heard throughout the stadium.Up next: The A's and Royals are scheduled to take the Coliseum field Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. in a rubber match pitting starting pitchers Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 2.25) and Bruce Chen (0-0, 0.00) against each other.

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