Hannahan’s hit helps Athletics salvage finale of 3-game series with Blue Jays 5-4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Jack Hannahan has so little experience in the major leagues that most of the pitchers he faces are new to him. Given a second chance against Scott Downs this week, Hannahan showed he’s a quick learner.
Hannahan grounded out with runners on second and third and two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game against Downs in Oakland’s 6-2, 12-inning loss Monday night. He was waiting for a fastball this time and delivered when he got it in his 62nd major league at-bat.
“I had an opportunity to do it the other night against the same pitcher and didn’t get the job done. You’re always looking to be in that spot to win the game for your team. I got it done this time,” Hannahan said. “I just waited for a fastball and I was lucky enough to get one out over the plate and put a bat on it.”
Hannahan’s big hit came after Huston Street blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth by allowing solo homers to Lyle Overbay and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs—the first time the closer has allowed two homers in an outing in his career.
“I threw it in the one place he likes to drive the ball,” Frasor said. “I thought it was going out. I felt like I was going to get three up, three down.”
Hannahan followed with a drive into the gap in left-center off Downs that easily scored Scutaro with the winning run. The hit gave him an 11-game hitting streak.
Ruddy Lugo (5-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win as the A’s salvaged the final game of the series, avoiding their first three-game sweep at home to the Blue Jays since 1993.
“When you’re 14 games out of it with a month to play you’re just showing up every day like its a new day,” Street said. “You’re not really worried about winning streaks or losing streaks. You’re just worried about getting better and coming together as a team. We’re building for next year.”
As part of that, the A’s let right-hander Esteban Loaiza go to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a waiver claim before the game, freeing up more than $8 million in salary and giving some of the team’s younger pitchers a chance to show if they can be major league starters.
“We felt like it was an opportunity for some of the younger guys in the organization going forward and it gives us some flexibility,” assistant general manager David Forst said.
Roy Halladay allowed four runs, seven hits and a career-high tying six walks in nine innings, marking the fourth straight start he has either completed or gone nine innings. He is winless, however, in the last three for his longest stretch without a win this season.
Halladay didn’t allow a run in his final six innings before turning the game over to Frasor to start the 10th after a 124-pitch outing.
“After the third inning I got better,” Halladay said. “The walks hurt me early on. Early on, I was trying to guide the ball. Later I went back to being aggressive. It makes it hard when you keep adding baserunners.”
Lenny DiNardo allowed two runs and four hits in five innings but lost a chance at his sixth win in seven decisions when Street couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth.
The A’s got to Halladay early, scoring twice in the first inning on an RBI single by Mike Piazza and a run-scoring double by Scutaro. Ryan Bowen added a two-run single in the third to make it 4-0, but that was all Oakland could get off the Toronto ace.
Street, who blew his third save in 15 chances, had allowed nine home runs in 171 games before giving up the two in the ninth inning. … Overbay’s homer was his ninth of the season and first since May 28, against the Yankees. He had gone 183 at-bats without a homer. … Stairs’ 12 career pinch-hit homers are second to Mark Sweeney’s 15 among active players. … Oakland RHP Santiago Casilla pitched two hitless innings. He had allowed 19 runs in his previous 19 outings after allowing just one in his first 17 appearances this season.