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06/07/07 2:45 AM ET
Casilla seals Kennedy's win against Sox
Rookie tallies first save following southpaw's strong start
By Matt Smith / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- He just notched his first win two days before, so now why not his first save? Santiago Casilla does not appear to be having any trouble adjusting to the big leagues, and after getting his first career win on Monday, the 26-year-old picked up his first career save on Wednesday night against the Boston Red Sox. He recorded four outs in the A's 3-2 win over the Red Sox at McAfee Coliseum, and he has now pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball since coming up from Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. "That's three outings in a row that he's looked real good," A's manager Bob Geren said. "We asked him to go out and save it, and he got it done. I'm really happy for him. He's been working really hard." It was also a rewarding night for Joe Kennedy, who once again pitched extremely well and this time received something to show for it. Kennedy has allowed three runs or less in 10 of his 11 starts this season and continues to perform at a high level nearly every time he toes the slab. On Wednesday night, he went seven strong innings and allowed two runs as he improved to 2-4. Kennedy has been a tough-luck pitcher, as his 3.23 ERA would allude to, but he was able to get his first win since May 10. "It's nice to actually get a win," Kennedy said. "I keep saying that they don't establish how good of a pitcher you are, but it's nice to get one." "It's surprising that he's only got two wins with how well he's pitched," Geren said. "Tonight, he had all four of his pitches working. He had his good stuff." "It's good to see," shortstop Bobby Crosby said. "He's pitched so well all year." Kennedy had a shutout heading into the seventh inning before a double by Manny Ramirez followed by a Kevin Youkilis triple ended it. Youkilis would score the second run on a groundout. But before that, Kennedy was in a rhythm and hadn't allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base prior to the seventh and he had his good stuff going for much of the night. "I had pretty much everything," Kennedy said. "I got a lot of first-pitch strikes, I kept the leadoff hitter off base in every inning except the last one and you have to do that to have a good shot at winning." Kennedy, before coming to Oakland in 2005, had a career ERA of 4.93 and since coming over from Colorado, he has seen that figure drop to 3.63. "It's just experience," Kennedy said. "I came in to the big leagues at 22, so it's a matter of knowing who you are as a pitcher and getting comfortable and confident with that." For the A's as a team, they continue to play well against the Red Sox. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, the two teams have played 15 times, and the A's have won 11 of those games. That includes the first three games of this four-game set. "We're just playing real well right now," Kennedy said. "It wouldn't matter who was in here right now, we're playing well all the way around." For the better part of the evening, the A's were baffled by the dancing knuckleball of Tim Wakefield, but they did just enough against the 40-year-old. The A's struck out eight times against him and scored in just one inning, but their three runs in the fourth were enough. Eric Chavez doubled off the first-base bag and scored on Jack Cust's double to right. Shannon Stewart had walked before Cust, and both of them scored when Crosby lined a single to left-center. "The main thing with the knuckleball is you want to get it when it's up," Crosby said. "You have to take an advantage and score some runs when you can."
Matt Smith is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.