7/4 Athletics 1, Cubs 0
Travis Wood picked up his 16th quality start, but once again, he had nothing to show for it. The Athletics tallied on a passed ball charged to catcher Welington Castillo in the seventh inning to post a 1-0 victory Thursday over the Cubs, who mustered two hits in the game.
Matt Guerrier, who joined the Cubs on Wednesday from the Dodgers for Carlos Marmol, took over in the seventh from Wood and walked Derek Norris with two outs. Norris reached third on Seth Smith’s single and then scored on passed ball by Castillo, who was catching Guerrier for the first time.
“[Guerrier] made a good pitch and I think I just didn’t read it very good and it went through my legs,” Castillo said. “I’m not going to make an excuse. He made a really good pitch and I didn’t get a read.”
Wood held the A’s to three hits, and now is 0-3 with a 2.58 ERA in his last six starts.
“You just have to keep battling,” Wood said.
“He’s been our All-Star, no question about it,” Dale Sveum said of Wood. “He’s had some very unfortunate incidents and his earned run average would be quite a bit better than it is without some unfortunate, strange occurrences.”
Such as game-winning runs scoring on passed balls. On Sunday, Wood sounded frustrated that he hadn’t done more.
“I’ve got to figure out how to win the ballgames,” he said. “I’ve been able to keep them off balance and not score, but I have to help our team pull through and win the games.”
One thing the Cubs did learn in their first series in Oakland is not to run on left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Starlin Castro was at second with one out in the fourth and tried to score on Alfonso Soriano’s single, but Cespedes threw him out at home.
“I thought he was [going to score],” Sveum said. “It seemed like a no brainer right off the bat. I don’t know what happened there.”
“It surprised me,” Castro said. “I ran hard right away. When I saw the ball hit, I went right away to home plate and he made a good throw.”
Castro had never seen Cespedes in the outfield.
“The guy made a great throw,” Castro said. “I thought I’d score easy. I never stopped, I never said to myself, ‘I’m out.’ I ran hard right away to second base. I was surprised I was out.”
Oakland starter Dan Straily, promoted from Triple-A Sacramento for the start, combined with Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour on a two-hitter.
Despite the loss, the Cubs finished with a winning road trip (5-4) and will have a winning record in Interleague Play (11-6) for the first time since 2007. At least they proved they could win west of the Mississippi River. Last season, the Cubs were 1-18 on the road against National League West teams, picking up their only win in the last game.
– Carrie Muskat