A's, Street Blow Golden Opportunity

When it was brought to the attention of manager Ken Macha recently that closer Huston Street had blown nine saves this year, Macha was surprised. He didn't think it was that many.

Maybe it's because Street has so many save chances, since the A's play so many close games. Oakland's 52 saves are the most in baseball.

But now Street is in a slump, and while there's never a good time for a closer to have a slump, it's really a bad time when the team is trying to clinch the division, and gain momentum for the playoffs -- and there are whispers that Street's arm isn't sound.

Street blew his 10th save Monday, and second in a row, by coughing up a three-run lead in the ninth inning. The A's then saw their 15-game winning streak against the Mariners end when Kiko Calero gave up the winning run in an ugly 10-9 loss. The A's once led, 9-3. They had three opportunities earlier in the game to add a run with a runner on third with less than two outs, but failed to add on. That ultimately hurt the A's.

The last time the A's lost a game when leading by three runs in the ninth inning was July 25, 1999, at Kansas City.

The A's have lost three straight. Their lead in the AL West is five games with six remaining over the Angels, who will host the A's for four games this weekend in Anaheim.

REPLAY: Starter Esteban Loaiza allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings in yet another underwhelming performance by an A's starter. Joe Kennedy allowed a run in 1 2/3 innings, and Justin Duchscherer pitched 1 1/3 scoreless. Closer Huston Street gave up three runs in the ninth, and Kiko Calero allowed the winning run to score in the 10th inning of a 10-9 loss to Seattle.

Milton Bradley hit a two-run homer in the first inning. A four-run fifth inning, highlighted by Mark Ellis' two-run double, gave the A's a 9-5 lead. Jason Kendall also had a two-run double.

Tuesday's Notebook

--RHP Rich Harden struck out seven in three innings in his return from the disabled list Thursday, but he's hoping for far fewer strikeouts this time. Strikeouts jack up a pitch count, and Harden will be limited to 75 pitches for his start Tuesday.

--CF Mark Kotsay, as expected, didn't start Monday after playing three straight games over the weekend. Kotsay entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch hitter and ended up playing six innings. He complained about being benched in favor of Kielty after the game.

--OF Bobby Kielty started in OF Mark Kotsay's place as manager Ken Macha is looking to keep Kielty's hot bat in the lineup. Kielty came into the game hitting .304 with six doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs over his past 21 games -- and went 2-for-3 two runs scored.

--C Jason Kendall, who has drawn two interference calls on batters this year to end games, tried to draw another interference call on a bunt in the 10th inning Monday. But the bunt was foul and interference wasn't called.

--OF Jay Payton and C Jason Kendall have flirted with getting their batting averages over .300 the last couple weeks. A hitless game for Payton dropped his average to .292, while Kendall's 2-for-5 brought him up to .293.

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