Clippard survives consecutive extended saves

Closer talks way into pitching ninth inning Sunday

Clippard survives consecutive extended saves

OAKLAND -- Sitting at 18 pitches after being asked to get the final two outs of the eighth inning, and having already thrown 28 the day before, A's closer Tyler Clippard insisted on returning for the ninth to preserve a one-run lead against the Angels on Sunday afternoon.

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Manager Bob Melvin obliged, and was rewarded -- albeit after a slight scare, when Johnny Giavotella drove a long fly ball to left field with one on and two outs in the inning.

Sam Fuld raced back -- "Off the bat, my mind did not go to good places," catcher Stephen Vogt said -- and grabbed it at the wall, securing Clippard his second one-plus-inning save in as many days and 12th save of the season.

Clippard earns the save

"I thought [Giavotella's ball] was off the end of the bat myself," Melvin said, smiling, after the 3-2 win. "That's hard to ask a guy to do that two days in a row. And originally I was just having him for that inning. I just wanted to go through the middle of the order with him.

"When he came off the mound, he talked me into going back out there. Give him a lot of credit. That's a very difficult thing to do, and [I] probably won't ask him to do that again this year."

In Clippard's mind, it wasn't even up for debate, not after the right-hander had made it a one-run game by offering up a two-run home run to Albert Pujols with two outs in the eighth after relieving starter Scott Kazmir.

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"I didn't come here to lay up, you know what I mean? If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it," he said. "Once I'm in the game, I'm hot, I want to finish it, that's my job. I was a little unhappy with how the eighth went. We held the lead, but giving up that two-run homer to Pujols left a bad taste in my mouth, so I was anxious to get back out there and close it out in the ninth."

It was the third one-plus-inning save of Clippard's career and helped the A's improve to 6-18 in one-run games. He's thrown 62 pitches in two days.

"I pride myself on that," Clippard said. "It's not something I think is conducive for health for a long period of time. It's not something I'm going to be able to do a lot, but if I can do that, especially in these kind of games -- and we need wins right now -- I'm happy to do it."

"To do what he did back-to-back days for us is huge," said Vogt. "Gives everyone a rest and picks us up and gives us a couple wins in close games, which obviously hasn't been our forte this year."

Worth noting

Billy Burns extended his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 12 games with an RBI single in the third inning.

• The A's claimed outfielder Jake Smolinski off waivers from the Rangers and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville on Sunday. Smolinski was batting .133 in 35 games over three stints with Texas when he was designated for assignment Friday.

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.