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Foster's Bat and Canuso's Arm Not Enough to Lead A's Over Pirates


Written by: Bill Martin
Thursday, June 1, 2006

The big bat of Griffin Foster and the settling pitching of Matt Canuso was not enough to get the A's out of an early hole, as the A's lost Thursday night to the Pirates, 4-0. 
The A's loaded the bases in the first, behind a single from Ryan Simalchik and walks to Steve Arfuso and Billy Martin.  But the A's could not get any metal on the ball and left the sacks full to end the inning.  In the bottom of the first, a few close pitches led to a couple of walks for starting pitcher Ryan Simalchik, and a line drive that just scraped the right field foul line resulted in the only four runs of the game by the Pirates.  Simalchik returned the mound in the second, and with the help of his diving short stop Kevin Gault, shut the Pirates out in the second.
In the third, it looked as if the A's were going to make a move, getting lead off hitter Andrew Spillane on base followed by Mark Lemmerman getting hit by a pitcher, but the steel bats seemed to be welded to the A's shoulders as three straight batters took a called third strike to end the inning.
Coach Martin again went to his closer Matt Canuso early in the game, hoping to extend the game if a few runs could be knocked in by the A's.  Canuso did not disappoint.  Canuso's new battery mate Mark Beachy provided the needed target as Canuso mowed down the Pirates heart of the order.  In the top of the fourth, after a rousing speech from the coaches between innings, the A's took their shot at hitting the ball.  Rory McIntyre and Andrew Spillane looked impressive at the plate, aggressively going after each pitch, but could not start any rally for the A's.  In the bottom of the fourth, Canuso gallantly returned to the mound, and Matt threw an incredible 9 straight strikes to strike out the sides and keep the A's in the game.
The A's need a rally, and looked no further than 3-hitter Griffin Foster, known for his penchant for starting big rallies for the A's.  On a 1-0 pitcher, Foster blasted a double over the right fielder's head and nearly stretched it into a triple.  However, knowing that the team needed runners, Foster returned to second rather than risk being thrown out at third, a nifty bit of base running.  The game could be summed up in a nutshell on the next pitch, when Matt Canuso ripped the cover off the ball with a screaming liner up the middle, which was flagged in self-defense by the Pirate pitcher.  The A's could nut muster another hit and took the loss, 4-0.
Owner Rob Simalchik praised his team's late efforts to aggressively swing the bat and try for hits: "The boys came alive in the fourth and fifth innings.  They swung a strikes and put the ball in play.  We are in a good position now heading into the playoffs in a couple of weeks, where we will need hits to advance.
Pitching coach Frank Canuso could not be reached for comment.    

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