Balfour not entirely to blame for loss
Bartolo Colon pitches well enough to win; Barton takes blame
From Chronicle Staff Writer Susan Slusser at Camden Yards
Bartolo Colon did all he could in the A’s 5-2 loss to Baltimore – he entered the ninth inning unscored upon, and then got a couple of grounders and a strikeout.
End of game? No. The first grounder was to Eric Sogard’s right and he made an off-balance throw to first base, but the ball took a big hop in front of the first-base bag, usually a play Daric Barton makes easily. He couldn’t handle the throw, and J.J. Hardy was awarded an infield hit.
With one out, Adam Jones hit a tapper to Colon’s right and Colon, who is usually a decent fielder, picked up the ball and rushed the throw, throwing what looked like a hard and pretty tricky bouncer past Barton.
That’s the one Barton really felt he should have had; he said he wasn’t sure if it was going to hit on the dirt or the grass, but he pulled at it a little too much and it went by him.
“I should have had ‘em both,” Barton said. “That’s my job, especially if they’re putting me in for defensive purposes.”
It was ruled a hit for Jones, and an error on Colon for Hardy advancing to third. That meant that all subsequent runs were earned.
Closer Grant Balfour took over and got ahead of Matt Wieters 1-2, but Wieters stung a curveball for a two-run double, tying the game, and after an intentional walk to Chris Davis, Balfour threw Wilson Betemit a fastball that Betemit hit out of the park, the first walkoff homer of his career.
Balfour said the curveball wasn’t too bad, but he’d meant to bounce it, basically, and left it up a little too much. There’s no doubt he came into a tough situation; he really needed to get a strikeout there, and he had Wieters 1-2 and “had a plan” at that point. Missing by just a hair on his location was a killer, but manager Bob Melvin agreed it was a good pitch. Wieters just did a great job of hitting.
“Some games just don’t work out,” said Melvin, who doesn’t want his club to dwell too much on this one.
That was a fairly deflating loss for the A’s, though, considering they’d been sort of cruising along at that point and looking at taking the series and moving back over .500. Now they head to Boston after getting stunned in the bottom of the ninth.