Suzuki homers in eighth on second chance as A’s sweep Pirates
OAKLAND – Given a second chance, Kurt Suzuki gave the Oakland Athletics the lead.
Suzuki homered with two outs in the eighth inning after a dropped foul popup and the Athletics beat Pittsburgh 3-2 Sunday, the Pirates’ 17th straight road loss.
With the score 2-all, Pirates reliever Evan Meek (3-2) struck out the first two batters in the eighth. Suzuki followed with a pop that catcher Jason Jaramillo dropped for an error.
“I thought, ‘Not again, not another foul popup,”‘ Suzuki said. “I saw him drop it out and it gave me renewed life. I thought, ‘OK, this is the break I needed. Let’s do something about it.”‘
Two pitches later, Suzuki hit his 10th home run. The A’s won with only three hits.
“I missed it,” Jaramillo said. “That’s it. I should have had it.”
Pirates manager John Russell was a little more explicit.
“We stunk in every aspect,” he said. “Two stupid mistakes spoiled a very nice start by our pitcher. You can’t play like that and expect to win.”
The game ended with a strange twist. Pinch-hitter Delwyn Young led off the ninth with a single and, with two outs, was hit by Pedro Alvarez’s grounder near first base for the final out.
The road losing streak is the second-longest in Pirates’ history, trailing only a 19-game slide in 1985.
“That’s not our best game but we still won,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Sometimes you play well and come up short. Mistakes by the other team certainly helped us out a lot. It could have been an ‘F-2’ and Kurt turned it into a home run.”
The A’s won their third straight after losing seven of their previous eight. Pittsburgh lost its sixth in a row. Oakland is 9-0 all-time against the Pirates.
“Things even out over the long haul,” Geren said. “It’s very unusual to win with three hits but we’ll take it.”
Craig Breslow (3-1) pitched the eighth to pick up the win. Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
Lastings Milledge hit a home run and Jose Tabata also drove in a run for the Pirates, who finished 2-13 in interleague play.
Both starters pitched well. Gio Gonzalez took a three-hit shutout into the seventh and Ross Ohlendorf pitched two-hit ball for six innings and did not allow an earned run.
“I didn’t do a good job defensively,” Ohlendorf said. “I threw the ball away for their first run and I didn’t cover first the inning they scored their second run. If I do a better job defensively, they don’t score either run.”
Ohlendorf is winless in his past 16 starts dating to last Aug. 18 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Milledge led off the seventh with a home that pulled the Pirates within 2-1, a hit that finished Gonzalez.
“I did all right,” Gonzalez said. “The infield showed we’ve got a bunch of gold gloves out there. They turned a few double plays that really helped me. We got the win, that’s the main thing.”
Reliever Brad Ziegler was summoned to face Adam LaRoche, who singled up the middle and advanced a base on the next two groundouts. Tabata’s double tied the game.
Ohlendorf walked Cliff Pennington to open the third and then threw the ball away at first trying to pick him off. First baseman Garrett Jones threw the ball down the left field line on the same play trying to get Pennington advancing to third.
Ohlendorf walked Jack Cust leading off the fifth. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen dropped Mark Ellis’ fly ball and Pennington’s infield single loaded the bases. Ohlendorfer walked Coco Crisp to force home a run before retiring the next three hitters to avoid further damage.
NOTES: Milledge’s home run ended a 19-inning scoreless streak for the Pirates. … Ohlendorf has received run support of 2.0 per game in his 16 starts since last winning. … Crisp scored three runs in each of the first two games of the series, the first A’s player to do since Jason Giambi and Terrence Long each did it June 18-19, 2000. … Gonzalez is 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA in eight home starts. … Ziegler allowed his third earned run in 19 innings pitched at home. … Breslow retired his last 19 batters before committing an error on Jones’ dribbler in the eighth.
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