Shorthanded A's drop close one to Rockies 6-3
Written by: Bill Martin
Saturday, May 20, 2006
All seemed well prior to the A's game Friday with the Rockies until Coach Martin got the word that starting pitcher Ryan Simalchik had been called to a 1-game stint with the Phillies organization. Martin then turned to his two youngest players, Kevin Gault and Mark Beachy, who stepped up and pitched extremely well, giving the shorthanded A's a chance to beat the Rockies. Unfortunately, the A's ran out of time, losing 6-3 in a time shortened 4 inning game.
The Rockies jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first off Gault, who got his first start of the year, but the A's stormed right back with 3 in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 lead. Smart hitting by Rory McIntyre and third-baseman Mark Lemmerman, who laid off the tempting high heat by the Rockies starter, knocked in 2 runs. The Rockies scored 3 more in the second, but the A's 2-man outfielder, led by rightfielder and lead-off hitter Stephen Arfuso and Centerfielder Griffen Foster, kept everything in front of them and held the Rockies runners to just singles. Gault struck out the side for the end of the bases-loaded jam.
The A's bats then went completely silent, however. But their defense in the top of the third kept them within scoring range. Mark Beachy stepped to the mound for his first outting in two weeks, and threw strikes. After loading the bases with two outs, Beachy jumped on a short grounded and fired to first, and first baseball Matt Canuso's stretch nabbed the runner at first, keeping the inning scoreless and the A's right in the game.
In the fourth inning, the Rockies loaded the bases again and it looked as if the game would be put out of reach. But Beachy kept throwing strikes to catcher McIntyre, and his defense responded. Matt Canuso made a heads-up play at first, beating the runner to the bag for the first out. Second baseman Billy Martin stopped a sharp grounder and fired a laser to first for the second out. And with the bags loaded again, a blast up the middle was snared by a diving Kevin Gault, who leaped to his feet and lobbed the ball to Martin who smartly was covering second, to end the inning. The A's left 2 runners on in the bottom of the 4th and the game was called at the 1:46 time mark.
After the game., Coach Martin stated: "We were down three key players today. The boys responded by playing strong defense and Kevin and Mark throw strikes. I am very proud of the way the boys fought hard today." Pitching coach Frank Canuso could not be reached for comment.
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