Melvin commends pitchers Milone, Balfour
Grant Balfour has converted 47 of 54 (.840) save opportunities in three years with the A's. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Grant Balfour earned his 40th consecutive save for the A's Friday night, bringing him even with Dennis Eckersley's all-time record for the Oakland franchise.
"It's phenomenal," A's manager Bob Melvin said of the streak. "Like him, I don't like to talk about it a whole lot, but you're asking me the question. It's pretty phenomenal. That's quite the pitcher that he just tied.
Eckersley recorded his 40 straight saves from Sept. 15, 1991 to Aug. 7, 1992. The 1992 Cy Young Award winner and American League MVP saved 320 of his 324 games for the A's over nine years in Oakland. Eckersley went 197-171 with a 3.50 ERA and 2,401 strikeouts to 738 walks over his 24-year, Hall-of-Fame career.
Balfour entered with one out and two runners on in the ninth inning Friday and allowed a run-scoring single before getting two ground outs to end the game and enter the history books.
[RECAP: A's 6, Royals 3]
Balfour, 35, has now converted all 22 of his save opportunities this season, and took a 1.85 ERA into Friday night's game against the Royals. In three years with the A's, Balfour is 8-5 with a 2.37 ERA and 166 strikeouts to 61 walks. He has converted 47 of 54 save opportunities for Oakland.
The A's picked up Balfour's $4.5 million option for the 2013 season following a two-year, $8.1 million contract. He is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season.