08/14/08 11:36 PM ET
A's fall in 12-inning thriller with Rays
Ziegler's streak ends, Oakland misses chances in loss
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
Ziegler allowed the Rays to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning, after beginning his career with 39 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings -- a Major League record.
While the A's got Ziegler off the hook for a loss by tying the score at 5 in the bottom of the ninth on Frank Thomas' RBI single, they still endured their 14th loss in the past 16 games.
And in the midst of the Ziegler hype was yet another game in which the A's didn't bring runners home, despite the numerous chances. They left 12 on base and struck out 10 times. It didn't help they went through seven pitchers, either, with Santiago Casilla getting tagged for the loss after giving up two runs in the 12th inning.
Carlos Pena lined the first ball he saw from Casilla into the right-field seats, before an RBI single off the bat of Dioner Navarro made it 7-5. It was the eighth time in Casilla's 18 outings since his return from the disabled list that he has allowed at least one run.
Manager Bob Geren said the reliever has been "battling with command," which was the problem for starter Sean Gallagher, who lasted just four innings while giving up three runs on four hits. Gallagher walked four and fanned four.
"I was just rusty," said Gallagher, who missed his last start due to right shoulder soreness. "Ten days is a long time, and I had a couple days where I wasn't doing anything, so today was just about knocking the rust off."
The A's weren't the only ones checking off a different pitcher every few innings, though. Tampa Bay ended up using one more arm than Oakland's seven, proving eight was the charm.
Just under five hours before the game ended, Carlos Gonzalez had wasted no time in getting the A's on the board with a two-run homer in the first inning. After Tampa Bay tied it up at 2 in the second off Gallagher, Oakland took the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to a Daric Barton double that made 4-2 game.
That lead lasted just minutes, though, as an RBI triple by Willy Aybar narrowed the A's lead to one, before Eric Hinske brought in another run with a base hit in the fifth to even the score once again. That set up the Ziegler Show in the ninth, when the fateful hit -- B.J. Upton's lined double to left -- came with one out and a runner on first.
"My first thought was, 'I can't believe it happened with a runner on first,' " Ziegler said. "I didn't think of the streak until I walked back to the mound."
The A's made it interesting in the bottom of the 12th. Emil Brown reached first on a fielding error by shortstop Jason Bartlett leading off, took second on Bobby Crosby's single and third on a wild pitch. But Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play, plating Brown.
Trever Miller replaced Jason Hammel to become Tampa Bay's eighth pitcher and promptly hit Barton with a pitch. But Rob Bowen, batting for Cliff Pennington, grounded to third for a game-ending forceout.
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.