McIntyre Leads A's to First Win Over Astros
Written by: Bill Martin
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
The Oakland A's got their first win this season behind a strong pitching performance and the big bat of catcher Rory McIntyre, beating the Houston Astros 5-1 in 8-year-old Rookie league on Sunday. Starter Matt Canuso gave up just one hit and one run in the first two innings, as the A's defense shined. Billy Martin got his first chance at first base, and made a key out to stop a potential Astros big inning in the first on a sharp ground ball. Although the A's loaded the bases in the first, they could not get a run in, and it looked like scoring would be at a premium this day.
However, after Griffin Foster and Louis Sarandoulias fought off some tough pitches and drew 1-out walks in the second, catcher Rory McIntyre stepped to the plate. All season, McIntyre has been putting good metal on the ball, but could not get the ball to stay fair. This time, Rory took advantage of a 2-0 pitch and stroke a 1-hopper by a diving Jake Miller at first, clearing the bases and knocking in 2-runs. Ryan Simalchik then walked, and Matt Canuso banged his 4th extra-base hit of the year, giving the A's a 3-1 lead in the second.
Middle reliever Kevin Gault, who went 2-3 with a run scored in the game, looked exceptionally strong on the mound. Gault gave up only an infield hit to short in the third inning. Third-baseman Andrew "Mickey" Spillane stopped any chance of an Astros' rally, grabbing a sharp ground ball, and holding the runner at second with 2 outs. A's team leader Stephen Arfuso, who was was out of Friday's game with a stomach ache, returned and was a rock behind the plate, keeping Gault centered. Gault then struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Mark Lemmerman, whose stellar play in left field keep the Astros from any extra-base hits in the game, led off the third with a walk. A single by Canuso and an RBI by Gault drove in the insurance run needed for closer "Nolan" Ryan Simalchik to take a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth. With the top of the order up for the Astros, Ryan struck out the first two hitters and faced the top Astros hitter. On a 1-2 count, Ryan blew a fastball past the batter for the third out and the win for the A's.
Pitching coach Frank Canuso was extremely happy with his staff: "The boys challenged the hitters, threw strikes, and let our fielders do their job. We need to get some more pitchers involved, but this is exactly what we need to be successful."
The A's are off this week and return to action next week.
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