06/17/09 2:54 AM ET
A's drop opener to Dodgers in 10th
Giambi, Crosby homer; Braden strong in no-decision
By David Ely / MLB.com
Winners of seven straight, the A's were just four games under .500 at 26-30 and looked capable of making a little noise in the American League West.
But flash forward eight days, and the A's pretty much have wasted all the goodwill they bought themselves with that seven-game winning streak.
Oakland blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium and went on to lose, 5-4, in 10 innings. The A's have now lost six of their past seven games to fall to 27-36.
"It felt like we had momentum on our side," said third baseman Bobby Crosby, whose solo homer in the eighth inning gave Oakland a 4-2 lead. "We give up a couple runs, and that's the way it works. Nothing you can do about it."
This loss especially will be tough to swallow given the manner in which the A's took a two-run lead in the top of the eighth.
After struggling offensively all game -- the A's had just four hits through seven innings -- the club got an unexpected outburst of power in the eighth.
Jason Giambi gave Oakland a 3-2 lead with a three-run homer off Dodgers reliever Ramon Troncoso. Two batters later, Crosby's solo shot extended the lead.
"It was a big inning for us to come back," manager Bob Geren said. "Their pitching the first three-fourths of the game was outstanding. To get four runs like that was a big boost to our offense, obviously."
But just minutes after it had taken the lead, Oakland fell apart in the bottom of the eighth.
Rafael Furcal began the inning with a double off reliever Michael Wuertz and moved to third on a fielder's choice from Orlando Hudson. Then with one out, Casey Blake cut the lead in half with a single to right field. The next two batters reached to load the bases for Andre Ethier.
Ethier hit a slow roller to Adam Kennedy, but Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp broke up a potential double-play ball with a hard slide into second base that allowed Blake to tie the score at 4.
"It felt like momentum swung to their side a little bit, but it's happened before," Crosby said. "You've just got to move on and hopefully get some guys on base like they did, but they did a better job."
The A's put one runner on in the ninth -- a two-out single by Kurt Suzuki -- but weren't able to capitalize. Then the A's went down one-two-three in the top of the 10th.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Dodgers mounted their final rally.
Hudson singled off Brad Ziegler and then advanced to third on an error and a subsequent double play. The winning run stood 90 feet from the plate as Kemp walked to the plate.
And just like that, Kemp flipped the ball into right field for a walk-off RBI single.
"I was trying to go down and in on him and threw it up and out over the plate," said Ziegler, who is 1-2 on the season. "It's a good approach to a submariner to hit the ball the other way, and I served it right into his barrel."
Wasted by the late-inning collapse was another stellar outing by left-hander Dallas Braden.
The 25-year-old lasted six innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He was at his best right from the get-go. Braden retired the first 14 batters he faced, mixing speeds and displaying pinpoint accuracy to keep the Dodgers off-balance.
"Dallas was great. He threw a heck of a game," Geren said. "He had everything working both sides of the plate with his fastball and a good changeup, and he used a little cutter in there and a breaking ball when he needed to."
The Dodgers finally got to Braden in the sixth.
After quick two quick outs, Hudson lifted a single to left field and then scored on a double by Blake. Three pitches later, the Dodgers struck again on another RBI double -- this one off the bat of James Loney.
Braden escaped without further damage, but Oakland still trailed, 2-0.
This is not the first time Braden has seen a solid outing wasted due to lack of run support.
"The runs that we get when he pitches, it's nothing that a starting pitcher can control," Geren said. "There'll be days when he gets a ton of runs, it all evens out."
David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.