For Esteban Loaiza, it was an extra day to think about what he called the worst two-start start to his career. For Huston Street, it was a day to think about a rare blown save, his first ever costing the A's a win.
On Tuesday night, Loaiza and Street were able to bounce back into the happy thought places. Loaiza went six solid innings, allowing three runs, and Street worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save. Perhaps most encouraging for Street was that he faced two lefties and retired them both. He struggled with lefties versus Texas and has struggled against them in the past.
Oakland A's manager Ken Macha always wants to get his closer into a game as
soon as possible after a blown save, and Street thought the one-run game was perfect.
"You want to get back out there, not only prove to your teammates, but also yourself that you can still do it," Street said. "Not that there's ever a doubt. But now I feel like the other day is finally over. You get out there, you have success, you get it done."
Loaiza's decreased velocity was a concern to himself and the A's. Loaiza's fastball still wasn't at its peak radar gun readings, but he hit 91 mph once and was consistently in the upper 80s.
More important, however, Loaiza's cut fastball was darting inside and outside like normal.
"When I wanted to throw it, on both sides of the plate, (I could)," Loaiza said. "It was a great feeling. I wanted to throw the fastball more and more. My velocity was better than last time. I felt real good."
REPLAY: Nick Swisher hit two home runs, giving him five in his last
nine games and six for the season, to lead the A's to a 4-3 win over the Tigers.
Swisher gave Esteban Loaiza a 2-1 lead with a two-run shot in the second, and his seventh-inning solo shot broke a 3-3 tie. Both blasts were off Tigers phenom Justin Verlander, who ranks up there with Seattle's Felix Hernandez as one of the game's best young pitchers. Somewhat puzzling was Detroit's decision to leave Verlander in to face Swisher in the seventh inning, when he gave up the decisive blast. Verlander finished the sixth with 99 pitches and most assumed he wouldn't return for the seventh. He not only returned, but he finished the inning with 121 pitches for the game. This is in stark contrast to the way that Seattle is handling Hernandez, who is on a strict inning and pitch-count this season to save his young arm from wear and tear.
--CF Mark Kotsay gunned down Detroit baserunner Craig Monroe in the
seventh inning, the 102nd outfield assist of his career. Since 1998, Kotsay has 100 assists, the most among major league outfielders in that
span. Vlad Guerrero is second with 96 over that span.
--1B/OF Nick Swisher has a nine-game hitting streak, the longest by an A's hitter this year. He has five home runs during that time. Swisher has shortened his swing and added a slight uppercut from last season. He has only walked once, but his more aggressive approach at the plate has allowed him to avoid a lot of bad hitter's counts.
--2B Mark Ellis snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a double in the third inning Tuesday. He also singled in the fifth. Both hits were to the opposite field, something that Ellis does a lot when he is hitting well.
--1B Dan Johnson felt "one thousand pounds lighter" after getting his first hit Friday to snap an 0-for-27 slump to begin the year, but he's now 1-for-32. Johnson didn't start Tuesday and probably won't start Wednesday either, as the A's are facing left-hander Kenny Rogers, whom outfielder Jay Payton has good career numbers against. Payton has been struggling this season, as well. He was tossed from Sunday's game and is hitting .179 with no RBI.
--C Adam Melhuse caught RHP Esteban Loaiza for the third straight game, and manager Ken Macha gave his most definitive answer that Melhuse is Loaiza's personal catcher.
Street And Loaiza Bounce Back In Win
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