Cuddyer on winning side this time
July 22, 2009
OAKLAND – Michael Cuddyer slid into third with a go-ahead triple and came face to face with the same umpire who called him out at home to end the game a night earlier.
“Safe,” Cuddyer said with a chuckle of Mike Muchlinski’s words this time. “That was all I cared to hear.”
Cuddyer’s two-out triple in the 10th inning was sweet satisfaction some 24 hours after he was ruled out in a close call trying to score the tying run, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The hit off All-Star closer Andrew Bailey (4-3) scored Joe Mauer, who singled with one out.
Before Cuddyer batted, manager Ron Gardenhire had some simple instructions.
“As I told him before walking up, ‘This time be safe,”‘ Gardenhire said. “He made somebody else safe. That’s a good thing.”
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Matt Guerrier (5-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win in this pitcher’s duel, a far cry from the offensive slugfest these teams exhibited a night earlier in Oakland’s 14-13 comeback victory. All-Star Joe Nathan finished for his 26th save in 28 chances and 20th straight.
Delmon Young hit an RBI triple in the fourth and Nick Punto followed with a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 2 for Minnesota, which squandered a 12-2 lead a night earlier.
Both Cuddyer and Gardenhire argued that Cuddyer had beaten Michael Wuertz’s tag at the plate Monday – and he looked safe on replay. Cuddyer threw his helmet down in disgust.
“I’m not pacing as much (tonight),” the slugger said.
Monday marked the biggest comeback in Oakland history and matched Minnesota’s worst collapse. That game featured two grand slams, eight total home runs and 39 hits – 22 by Oakland, which didn’t have a strikeout.
There were only 11 hits Tuesday and runs were tough to come by. Gardenhire wasn’t worried about his team moving forward from a pair of tough losses. The Twins lost in 12 innings Sunday at Texas.
“We used up all the hits and runs last night, both teams,” Cuddyer said. “We can’t do anything about it – last night was last night.”
Wuertz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Bailey followed with a perfect ninth before running into trouble in the 10th.
The A’s took the early lead Tuesday on Adam Kennedy’s RBI groundout and a run-scoring single by Orlando Cabrera in the third.
“We had good pitching tonight – a lot different than last night, that’s for sure,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “Offensively we just had one little spurt there where we scored two runs on back-to-back hits. But after that they shut us down pretty good.”
Since 2007, 12 of the 23 games between these teams have been decided by one run. Oakland is 2-7 in extra-inning games this year and 9-15 in one-run games.
Mauer was back in the Minnesota starting lineup after only a late-inning appearance Monday.
Twins third baseman Joe Crede also returned after missing two games with a sprained right shoulder. He got hurt making a diving catch Friday at Texas, but started Saturday before coming out with he felt tingling in his right hand.
Oakland starter Dallas Braden pitched seven strong innings, retiring eight of his final nine batters.
He had won two of his last three starts, but was tagged for a career-high 10 hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday. The left-hander and Oakland opening day starter came into Tuesday’s outing with the second-lowest run support in the American League at 3.45.
Twins starter Anthony Swarzak also hung tough and was helped by double plays in the first, second and fifth.
Jack Cust’s fourth-inning strikeout ended a stretch of 68 consecutive innings without a strikeout for Oakland, the club’s longest such streak since doing so for 75 innings in a row from May 14-16, 1990.
Braves 8, Giants 1
ATLANTA – Martin Prado and the Atlanta Braves continued their hot July, beating the San Francisco Giants 8-1 on Tuesday night to move two games over .500 for the first time in almost two months.
Prado had three hits and scored three runs, Brian McCann hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs and the Braves (48-46) continued their offensive surge.
The Braves have averaged 7.2 runs in a 5-1 start to their eight-game homestand and are 9-3 in their last 12 games overall.
The Giants, who fell out of the NL wild-card lead with Monday night’s 11-3 loss to the Braves, have lost five of six.
Prado has been a catalyst as Atlanta’s .296 batting average for July led the majors entering Tuesday’s games.
Before the game, Braves manager Bobby Cox said Prado’s move to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, allowing Yunel Escobar to have more RBI chances deeper in the order, “has made a world of difference.”
Prado began the night tied for the major league lead with 26 hits in July. He had a career-best 10-game hitting streak end Monday night and was the NL player of the week for the week ending July 5.
Prado singled and scored on McCann’s double in the first, and added another single in the three-run third. Chipper Jones had a run-scoring double, Garret Anderson had a sacrifice fly and Escobar added an RBI single in the inning.
The Braves added four runs off Ryan Sadowski (2-2) in the fourth. Prado drove in Ryan Church with a single. McCann’s three-run homer over the 400-foot sign in center gave Atlanta an 8-0 lead.
Derek Lowe (9-7) allowed seven hits and one run in six innings as the Braves improved to 12-6 in July. Atlanta was last two games over .500 on May 25.
The Giants scored in the fifth when Juan Uribe’s single drove in Matt Downs, who led off with a double.
Sadowski, the rookie right-hander recalled from Class A San Jose before the game, gave up eight runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Braves center fielder Nate McLouth left the game after the sixth inning with a mild lower back strain. The Braves said McLouth’s status is day to day.
NOTES: Giants IF Rich Aurilia was placed on the 15-day DL with a right big toe infection. The Giants optioned IF Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Fresno and recalled Downs, who started at second base. … Giants CF Aaron Rowand (bruised right forearm) did not play. He was hit on the arm by pitch on Monday. … Casey Kotchman’s infield single in the fifth extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.