OAKLAND -- Oakland A's manager Bob Geren launched into his usual postgame summation Sunday and, in discussing the efforts of Joe Blanton, quickly touched upon an awfully familiar theme.
"Another excellent start by Joe. He's pitching ... like an ace," Geren said. "We're not getting him any runs."
Needless to say, Geren's statement probably sent to burning the ears of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Dan Haren and various other A's pitchers who throughout the years have inherited the mantle of ace. Producing sharp efforts only to see tepid support has become as much a part of life for an A's No. 1 starter as plotting a future in another town.
So it is that Blanton remained winless despite a third consecutive relatively spotless start, and the A's will leave town with a 3-4 mark despite a majors-best 2.17 ERA from their starters. This defeat was 2-1 to the Cleveland Indians, a result that turned on a bobbled transfer from glove-to-hand by first baseman Daric Barton, and a full-count pitch with the bases loaded that barely missed.
Barton's mistake cost Oakland a potential inning-ending double play and allowed the first run to score from third in the seventh. Blanton then walked the next batter after missing the plate on a 3-2 pitch to force in the second run.