A's comeback falls short, lose ninth straight

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A's comeback falls short, lose ninth straight

June 8, 2011BOX SCORE A'S VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

BALTIMORE (AP) Just over a week after being humiliated in Oakland, the Baltimore Orioles pushed aside the struggling Athletics to pull off a sweep of their own.Rookie Zach Britton took a four-hitter into the seventh inning, Mark Reynolds homered, and the Orioles beat the Athletics 3-2 on Wednesday night to stretch Oakland's losing streak to nine games.The Athletics haven't won since outscoring Baltimore 16-8 during a three-game sweep on May 27-29. In the rematch at Camden Yards, Oakland managed only four runs in three games and never held the lead."The first series with them we didn't hit in certain situations and we didn't make key pitches in certain situations," Orioles closer Kevin Gregg said. "We really gave away three games to them at their place. Here, we played the game right."And Oakland did not.
A'S INSIDER GALLERY: Weeks shines, A's lose again
"They outscored us, they outpitched us, they outhit us," A's manager Bob Geren said. "That equals losses."The trio of defeats left the Athletics mired in their longest slide since a 10-game run in 2008."It's the way the game goes," Oakland starter Josh Outman said. "Once we get a couple wins, we'll get our swagger back and will get back some of our confidence."A's second baseman Jemile Weeks went 2 for 3 and scored both Oakland runs. The former first-round draft pick went hitless in his major league debut Tuesday night."I am excited. This is something I hope to do all season as long as I am here," Weeks said. "This is what they want to see from me, and it's what I do."
GUTIERREZ: Weeks offers A's a silver lining
J.J. Hardy drove in a run for the Orioles, who have won four of five. It was their first three-game sweep of the A's in Baltimore since July 21-23, 1998."It feels good to get wins," catcher Matt Wieters said. "We got some good starting pitching and a good bullpen in this series. If our starting pitching keeps throwing like it did this series, then we're going to be a lot better ball club."
Britton (6-4) allowed four hits and two walks in 6 1-3 innings. The left-hander, who tied his career high with six strikeouts, was 0-3 in six starts since May 1.Asked to assess his performance, Britton said, "I thought it was pretty good, obviously better than the previous couple outings."Jim Johnson gave up an unearned run in 1 2-3 innings and Gregg worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.Baltimore got all its runs in the fifth inning against Outman (1-1). Vladimir Guerrero hit a leadoff single, advanced on a two-out wild pitch and scored on a single by Hardy. Reynolds followed with his 10th home run.Oakland ended a string of 19 straight scoreless innings in the sixth. After singles by Weeks and Coco Crisp put runners at the corners with no outs, Daric Barton hit into a 4-6-3 double play.The A's closed to 3-2 in the eighth. Left fielder Nolan Reimold misjudged a line drive by Weeks for a three-base error and Crisp followed with a sacrifice fly.The A's made two exceptional fielding plays in the early going. Crisp tracked down a liner to deep center by Guerrero, and shortstop Cliff Pennington dived deep in the hole to snare a grounder before rising to his feet and throwing out Hardy.Backed with that kind of defensive support and aided by a double play, Outman faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings.But Baltimore broke open the scoreless duel in the fifth.Outman allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. Oakland starters are 0-8 with a 6.88 ERA during the nine-game losing streak.NOTES: The Orioles will put 1B Derrek Lee on the bereavement list Thursday so he can attend his grandfather's funeral in California. Baltimore is off Thursday, but Lee is expected to miss the entire three-game series against Tampa Bay that begins Friday night. ... Oakland's 14-24 record in night games is worst in the AL. ... Total attendance for the series was a meager 35,968. ... Oakland INF Andy LaRoche, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. ... Johnson has allowed only two earned runs in his last 16 appearances (21 IP).

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected defensive linemen with their top picks in the final two drafts under general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers fired Baalke at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season, and new general manager John Lynch stepped into a tear-down project.

That complete rebuild began Thursday evening with Lynch’s selection of another defensive lineman. The 49ers traded back one spot and selected Solomon Thomas of Stanford with the No. 3 overall pick.

“We see a special football player, disruptive football player, who has tremendous versatility,” Lynch said. “I think he fits in with the current group that we have because he’s a little different than the guys we have. And when I think of Solomon, I think of speed and quickness and disruption.”

The 49ers expect to play more of an aggressive, attacking style of defense under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh. Perhaps, the team’s biggest need is at the “Leo” position, the weak side end that is considered more of a pass-rusher.

Thomas appears better-suited at the other end or at a defensive tackle position, but the 49ers are keeping an open mind about using him at nearly every spot along the defensive line in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.

“There are four defensive linemen and what’s intriguing about Solomon is he has the ability to play all four of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s what makes him so unique. That’s why I think John says he’s a little bit different than some of the guys we have, because you can move him around. He has the quickness and speed to play on the outside. He has enough sides to play on the inside, so you don’t want to put him in one spot.

“We don’t think he has to be one specific role. Obviously, he is a defensive lineman, but there’s four spots he can play at and I think that’s going to depend on down and distance, whether we’re expecting run, whether we’re expecting pass and the type of personnel we’re going against.”

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.