Cook's streak ends as A's skid hits six

Cook's streak ends as A's skid hits six

Cook's streak ends as A's skid hits six
MINNEAPOLIS -- Forgive Ryan Cook for not showing interest in talking about his streak that is no more.

The previously untouchable A's reliever, who strung together 23 scoreless innings before giving up two runs to the Twins on Monday, cared far more about what those two runs meant.

For his team, it was its sixth straight loss -- a 5-4 decision in the opener of a three-game road set at Target Field.

"It's not really about giving up the runs," Cook said. "It's about giving up those two runs and losing the game, more than anything. I mean, I guess you're going to give up runs. It's not a secret to anybody. It's unfortunate I gave them up today."

"We saw a lot of zeros up there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had a conversation about that too. Everybody should have stats and he had none. He's a great pitcher. You can see why."

Yet the blame for the loss barely rested on Cook's shoulders, no matter if he felt it did. The A's had plenty of scoring opportunities that went to waste, with Coco Crisp standing front and center in most of them.

Crisp, who entered the day 2-for-24 since being reinstated from the disabled list a week ago, made it 2-for-29 following another hitless performance. Twice he hit into a double play, and three times he left runners in scoring position, stranding a total of eight on the basepaths.

The A's center fielder nearly redeemed himself in the ninth, with runners on first and second. He lined a hard-hit ball straight toward Twins pitcher Matt Capps, who fumbled the ball just enough to prevent yet another double play before retiring Crisp at first. Following an intentional walk to Josh Reddick, Capps got Jonny Gomes on strikes to end the threat -- and the game.

"We got unlucky with Coco's ball," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's still feeling his way back."

Crisp is batting .156 on the season for the A's, who hadn't scored more than three runs since plating six on May 20 at San Francisco.

"The positive is I actually made solid contact, which is where I want to be, where I want to remain," Crisp said. "The negative is obviously I hit it right at his glove. That's normally not what you want to do.

"I feel better. It's just a matter of turning the corner and actually producing. It's not happening right now. I'm at the point where I'm ready to boo myself. Things have to change. Just hope, pray, do some voodoo, some magic, whatever it takes to get this right. Hopefully it can happen soon."

Sooner than later, because Reddick can only carry so much weight on his shoulders.

Reddick collected his team-leading 14th home run of the season in the first inning and nearly had another in the sixth. But he settled on a triple and scored on a double play, accounting for half of his team's runs.

Alas, another solid pitching performance went for naught, as left-hander Travis Blackley -- plucked from his long-relief role to make the spot start -- walked away with a no-decision despite giving the A's exactly what they needed on short notice: five innings of one-run ball. He walked one and struck out three, with Trevor Plouffe's fifth-inning solo shot representing the lone damage done against him.

"I felt really good out there," Blackley said. "Everything was working. I was looking to at least get through five. You come in for a spot start, that's as many as you can hope for. We have such a good 'pen, you eat up five and hand it over to them. I'll take that nine times out of 10."

But Oakland's 3-1 lead, also helped along by Kila Ka'aihue's second-inning homer off Twins starter Scott Diamond, was erased in the bottom half of the sixth. Lefty reliever Jordan Norberto struggled with command and walked two with one out to bring up Josh Willingham. The former A's slugger responded with an RBI double, which was followed by Justin Morneau's game-tying sacrifice fly.

The A's regained the lead in the eighth on Kurt Suzuki's RBI single, the team's first hit with runners in scoring position in 24 innings. But it was Cook, whose scoreless streak was the longest to start a season by an A's pitcher on the Opening Day roster since at least 1918, who handed it right back.

With runners on first and second, Cook gave up a bloop double to Morneau that brought in the first run, and Ryan Doumit put Minnesota ahead with a sacrifice fly.

"Didn't get a break," Cook said.

And the A's could use one right about now.

"If everybody is feeling the way I'm feeling, it's pretty frustrating," Crisp said. "We had opportunities to pull this off. Nobody likes to lose, so it's obviously tough."

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.