OAKLAND -- The A's bullpen was masterful over six innings of relief on Saturday until the ninth inning when Ryan Cook threw a 1-1 change-up that caught too much of the plate. David Cooper clubbed the ball for a game-tying homer. The end result was Cook's American League-worst seventh blown save. Cook has now blown a save in each of the last two games. The A's All-Star closer was pitching on his third consecutive day. He has allowed 12 runs in nine and one-third innings when pitching on no rest. "If you're asking if last night had anything to do with today, zero percent," Cook said. "I made a bad pitch and I paid for it."Cook says he feels great physically and that he isn't off in anyway. As a rookie closer in a pennant race he will have to learn to put it all behind him and move on."I don't really know what to tell you, it's one of those things you've got to keep pitching," he said. "I just need to be better at it."A's manager Bob Melvin had a quick hook with Grant Balfour, demoting him when he struggled early on in the season. He was replaced as closer by Brian Fuentes who was replaced by Cook. The skipper appears to be sticking with Cook for now. "We're talking about a young kid that hasn't been in this role before and hasn't relieved too long," Melvin said. "There's going to be some times where you are going to struggle some. He's got to fight his way through it."
Cook was spectacular earlier in the season en route to seizing the closer role. Lately he has left the door ajar. He has allowed six runs in his last six appearances. In 36 appearances pitching on one or more days of rest, he has allowed just one run -- good for a 0.24 ERA. If the A's eventually decide to make a change at closer they could consider going back to Balfour, who has not allowed a run in his last 13 games. New reliever Pat Neshek was serving as a closer in Triple-A before being acquired by the A's but he is likely better served as a situational reliever. Or there is always the dreaded closer by committee option.