A's conduct salvage operation in finale with Angels

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A's conduct salvage operation in finale with Angels

April 27, 2011

A's (11-13) vs.
LA ANGELS (14-10)
Coverage begins at 3:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

(AP) -- Through two meetings so far in 2011, the Los Angeles Angels have continued their home dominance over the Oakland Athletics.

With Dan Haren going to the mound, Los Angeles has a good change to extend its winning streak.

Haren will try to help the Angels win their ninth straight at home over the Athletics and complete the three-game sweep Wednesday night.

Los Angeles (14-10) came into this series having dropped four in a row, and without having scored in its final two games against Boston over the weekend.

Following a 5-0 win over the Athletics on Monday, the Angels posted an 8-3 victory Tuesday.

REWIND: McCarthy lit up, Angels beat A's again

Alexi Amarista hit a two-run double on the third pitch he ever saw in the major leagues before adding a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Howie Kendrick had three of the Angels' 16 hits and scored three runs.

Kendrick, who is 5 for 8 in the series, is batting .433 during a seven-game hitting streak against the A's.

Oakland has been outscored 45-14 during its losing streak to Los Angeles. The A's also have lost five of seven overall - three by shutout - and having totaled six runs in the losses.

Coco Crisp left Tuesday in the third inning with tightness in his quad. He had nine hits in the previous three games and was 1 for 2 before exiting.

After being held to one hit over the final 6 1-3 innings Tuesday, the Athletics may not find it any easier produce against Haren (4-1, 1.46 ERA), who has the second-lowest ERA in the AL behind teammate Jered Weaver, who is 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA.

Haren has given up six earned runs, 23 hits and struck out 33 in 37 innings.

However, he suffered his first loss of the year after giving up four runs - two earned - in six innings of a 4-3 defeat to Boston on Friday. The right-hander struck out six, but didn't get any run support.

"I don't want to lose, obviously, but the chances were that I wasn't going to go 34-0. So it was probably going to happen at some point," Haren said. "It was kind of a weird game. A couple of balls found holes, so it's not like it was flying everywhere."

Haren, who pitched with Oakland from 2005-07, is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts against the Athletics. He allowed two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win Sept. 28.

Oakland (11-12) will counter with Tyson Ross (1-2, 4.82), who will make his second start in place of the injured Dallas Braden. Ross gave up three runs, four hits and walked four in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-0 loss to Seattle on Friday.

In three career starts, Ross is 0-3 with a 6.74 ERA, spanning two seasons. He's pitched 12 innings in those appearances.

As a rookie, the right-hander faced the Angels three times last season, including one start. He pitched a total of 7 2-3 innings, posting an 0-1 record with a 4.70 ERA.

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

Latest round of bullpen auditions go poorly in Giants' 50th loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.

The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24. 

Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.

"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."

Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.

With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.

Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1. 

In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four. 

Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0-for-4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided. 

Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months. 

“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 50th loss of the season

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The promotion of an intriguing prospect can bring a certain buzz to the ballpark. It didn’t last long. 

The debut of Ryder Jones came in the latest flat performance from the Giants, who collapsed late and fell 5-2 to the Mets. The loss was their 50th of the season. They did not lose their 50th game last season until August 12. 

With the score tied in the eighth, Curtis Granderson crushed a leadoff triple into the alley. Sam Dyson walked the next batter and then whiffed Yoenis Cespedes, but Jay Bruce greeted Steven Okert with an RBI single to right. It kept going poorly from there. 

Here are five things to know from a cool day by the water … 

—- Jones grounded out to second in his first at-bat and then flied out to center, grounded out to first, and grounded out to second. He had one chance in the field, starting a double play that ended the second inning.  

—- Johnny Cueto seems to have turned a corner. Over his past two starts, he has allowed just three earned runs over 14 innings. Whether they trade him or not, the Giants certainly could use a nice little hot streak for the next six weeks. 

—- A few seconds after Bruce Bochy shook Cueto’s hand, Brandon Belt got him off the hook for a loss. He hit the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh into the seats in left-center, tying the game. The homer was Belt’s 14th. He’s on pace for 29. 

—- The Mets got eight one-run innings out of Jacob deGrom, who is quietly the most reliable of a star-studded rotation. He struck out seven and gave up just four hits. 

—- If Madison Bumgarner wants another Silver Slugger Award, he’ll have to chase down deGrom, who hit a homer in his last start. His single in the third was his 10th hit, and he finished the day with a .294 average.