OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A day that began with the Oakland Athletics saying goodbye to a familiar face ended with an all-too-familiar result.
The A's traded veteran second baseman Mark Ellis shortly before losing for the sixth time in eight games, a 5-4 defeat to Florida on Thursday when Oakland once again failed to score an earned run off a Marlins starter.
Ellis, who came up in 2002, was the longest-tenured player on the A's and the only man on the 25-man roster who was part of the division-winning teams last decade. But with the emergence of rookie Jemile Weeks in recent weeks, general manager Billy Beane dealt him to Colorado for two minor leaguers.
``It was a difficult day for everybody,' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ``He's a guy everybody respects. I'm glad Billy sent him to a team who might be playing for something. It would have been hard getting him at_bats here. Billy wasn't necessarily looking for the best deal. He was looking for a good landing spot for Mark.'
It was a difficult day on the field as well, with Trevor Cahill (8-6) getting knocked out in the fifth inning and the A's managing just one unearned run in seven innings against Chris Volstad (4-7). Oakland did not score an earned run all series.
The strong start by Volstad helped Florida end a miserable month with consecutive wins for the first time in more than a month. The Marlins had won three of their first 26 games in June before the strong starts by Ricky Nolasco and Volstad gave them their first consecutive victories and first series win since sweeping the Giants across the bay in San Francisco on May 24-26.
``It was a rough one,' Volstad said. ``Hopefully this is a step forward and we can keep building off of this and go into Texas and keep playing the way we played these last two games.'
Nothing went right for the Marlins in between their two trips to the Bay Area as they fell from second place to last, fired hitting coach John Mallee, had manager Edwin Rodriguez resign and had lost 14 straight losses in one-run games before this victory.
That turned around for Jack McKeon's team during the three games against the offensively challenged Athletics.
``There's a little momentum,' McKeon said. ``They have a good feeling about themselves. All we need to do is win three or four in a row and who knows, maybe it will snowball.'
Volstad allowed seven hits and an unearned run after an error by third baseman Jose Lopez in the seventh inning to win his second straight start after a career-long six-game losing streak.
Coco Crisp added a solo homer off Edward Mujica in the eighth inning and Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run shot off Leo Nunez in the ninth to give the A's their first multihomer game since May 24 against Anaheim. Nunez recovered for his 22nd save in 25 chances.
The Marlins struck first with consecutive doubles by Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison to open the second inning against Trevor Cahill (8-6). Ramirez held up initially on Morrison's drive to right, but scored when David DeJesus' relay throw to Weeks was low for an error.
There was an odd play in the top of the third inning when Florida had runners on first and third with one out. Omar Infante ran from first on a 3-2 pitch that Gaby Sanchez took for a walk. Suzuki threw to second base anyway, but Weeks cut off the throw and threw out Emilio Bonifacio at home.
Florida then chased Cahill with four runs in a fifth inning that started with a couple of infield hits. Bonifacio led off with a bunt single, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice. With two outs, Ramirez reached on a swinging bunt down the third-base line that Adam Rosales didn't pick up in hopes it would roll foul. The ball died inches from the foul line, giving Ramirez an RBI single.
That started a run of four straight hits with Morrison knocking in a run with an RBI single and Buck ending Cahill's day with his two-run double to center field.
Cahill allowed five runs - four earned - and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings, marking the third time in five starts that he has failed to make it through five innings.
``My stuff wasn't as sharp,' Cahill said. ``The first two times through the lineup I was able to keep the damage to a minimum but the third time around was tough. I didn't have anything to show them. Everything was not as sharp.'
NOTES: The error by DeJesus ended a streak of 301 straight games without an error, the longest active streak for an outfielder. ... Hideki Matsui started in LF for his first appearance in the outfield in an AL park this season. ... The A's raised more than $29,000 for juvenile diabetes research through their annual root beer float day.
The Associated Press News Service
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