A's hurlers subdue Tigers in finale
Street nabs victory; Gallagher tosses four hitless frames
DETROIT -- Huston Street was Oakland's fifth pitcher of the game Wednesday, providing the unseated A's closer with another dose of unwanted seventh-inning duty.
And as has been the case for the better part of a month, Street's outing was uneventful. He walked the leadoff man, but quickly retired the next three batters on fly balls, doing his part to preserve Oakland's 5-2 victory over Detroit while lowering his ERA since Aug. 10 to 1.29 over 12 games.
Street was even credited with the win. A's starter Sean Gallagher, who didn't give up a hit but walked six and struck out six, was pulled after throwing 88 pitches over four shutout innings -- so the official scorer could give the win to whomever he pleased.
He settled on Street because none of the three relievers who preceded Street had been particularly effective (Jerry Blevins and Santiago Casilla) or worked a full inning (Alan Embree).
"I'm feeling a lot better," Street said after Oakland closed its three-city road trip with a fourth win in five games. "I'm just trying to finish strong."
And while a tempestuous two days for Street came to a triumphant close when the new closer, rookie Brad Ziegler, ripped through the ninth inning to record his eighth save in eight chances, it didn't quite end there.
After the game, Street was in manager Bob Geren's office for a closed-door chat, during which the two parties discussed their ugly dugout confrontation the previous night.
On Tuesday, after being ordered to walk Gary Sheffield to load the bases with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the A's nursing a one-run lead, Geren lifted Street in favor of Ziegler.
Street was unhappy with being pulled and let Geren know it when the skipper returned to the dugout. From there, the discussion escalated to the point that shortstop Bobby Crosby had to step in.
Several sources said it didn't need to go that far, suggesting that Geren could have diffused it but instead exacerbated it with aggressive body language. Crosby confirmed after Wednesday's game that he'd played peacemaker, but he declined to go into further detail. Geren wasn't saying much, either.
"It was just a heat-of-the-moment discussion," Geren said. "I don't really want to talk about it. I've talked to Huston."
Street, however, did talk about the dugout dustup.
"If I acted unprofessionally, I apologize for that," he said. "There's going to be times when you disagree with decisions that are being made, but the manager is going to make decisions that he thinks are going to lead to winning the game, and whether you agree with it or not, you have to act professionally."
Street said he'd never before been in a heated situation with a manager or coach, and he sounded like he's hoping this one was the first and last.
"A lot of it is just our competitive nature as athletes, and that's most of what happened yesterday -- me being competitive," he said. "I want to finish what I start."
Though he's has said all the right things publicly since Ziegler took over as closer, Street doesn't hide the fact that he thinks he should be closing games.
He avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility by signing a one-year deal for 2008 worth a reported $3.3 million, and while his demotion to setup man will surely cost him in arbitration this winter, Street is under club control for the next two seasons, if the A's want him.
The A's haven't said they don't want him, but if actions speak louder than words, they've made a point. The club was talking to teams about trading Street this summer, and it placed him on waivers after the July 31 Trade Deadline. After he was claimed, the A's pulled him back.
"We've had a lot of guys in the bullpen pitching well lately, so I'm not complaining about my situation," Street said. "But I feel like I belong pitching in the ninth inning. Whether that's here again or somewhere else, that's just how I feel."
With that, Street headed for the showers while many of his teammates packed up for what figured to be a pleasant flight home.
Ryan Sweeney and Jack Cust hit back-to-back homers in the top of the first inning Wednesday, and a starting lineup that featured a season-high seven rookies helped the A's win their second consecutive series.
"We've put some good games together lately," Sweeney said. "It's been fun."
Gallagher seemed to be pretty pleased, too. In his first start since going on the 15-day disabled list with a tired right arm in mid-August, he hit 95 mph on the radar guy several times before his pitch count forced him from the game with a 5-0 lead.
"I'm just happy to be back out there," Gallagher said. "My arm feels great. Now I'm healthy and looking forward to staying that way and maybe helping the team win a few more games."
After Sweeney and Cust went deep off Detroit starter Armando Galarraga, Oakland padded its early lead with a three-run rally in the fourth that began with a bunt single by rookie Cliff Pennington. Backup catcher Rob Bowen followed with his second hit of the day, Pennington scored on a single by rookie Eric Patterson and rookie Aaron Cunningham drove home Bowen and Patterson with a two-out single to right.
"We got a lot of big hits through the day," Geren said. "I'm just happy to be going home. It seems like we've been on the road a long time, and this is a good feeling to take home."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.