Dull secures second save despite snapped streak

Dull secures second save despite snapped streak

HOUSTON -- It was as sticky of a situation as any, even for Ryan Dull.

The A's reliever, who had stranded all 36 of his inherited runners entering Saturday against the Astros, was brought on board with a three-run lead and runners at the corners and no outs in the ninth inning.

Both would score, putting an end to the right-hander's historic, record-setting streak. But Dull still pulled out a save, the second of his career and first of the season, and most important the win for starter Kendall Graveman -- a 3-2 decision to put the A's up two games to one in this four-game set.

That's all that mattered to Dull, who got usual troublemaker Jose Altuve to ground into a forceout at second for the first out, plating his first inherited runner. Dull then induced a popup from Carlos Correa and, after Luis Valbuena made it a one-run game with an RBI single, he promptly struck out Carlos Gomez.

"I kind of screwed up his whole deal, but he'll take the save," A's manager Bob Melvin said, smiling. "It was getting a little exhausting. I even said that to him. I told him, 'I made it a little tough on you today,' and he said, 'I'll take that ground ball in a heartbeat,' and I think he was proud of the fact he got the save."

"You knew it was going to eventually happen," Dull said. "I was going to gladly sacrifice it to get the [ground ball] there."

Dull's streak is the longest by any pitcher in the expansion era, a common bullet point used by his teammates in recent weeks when touting the right-hander for the All-Star Game. There was thought that an injury to Boston's Craig Kimbrel would open up a spot for Dull, but American League manager Ned Yost opted on Saturday for Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez to replace him instead.

That doesn't take away from Dull's value on his own club, exemplified in more than one way Saturday.

"You definitely want to finish it, but when you have a guy like Dull coming in, what a great job he did right there," Graveman said. "You can't speak enough about what he's done and the season he's had. That just goes to show that he's a team player, he's somebody that's saying, 'Hey, I know the job at hand, I know I gotta get out of this with only allowing two and get my team the win.'"

"Obviously that was high pressure," catcher Stephen Vogt said. "Every time Altuve comes to the plate, you know he's going to do something, and that was the biggest out of the inning, getting Altuve to ground into that fielder's choice.

"Obviously it stopped the streak, we knew it was going to happen at some point, but just what he did there in limiting the damage and getting the save for us, he's been consistent, he's been outstanding, and it was no different today."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.