Tight series between Rockies, A’s up for grabs in finale

Two teams with one victory apiece yet lamenting blown opportunities go for a series win Thursday afternoon when the visiting Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics duel for a third and final time.

One night after blowing a late lead that eventually cost them the game, the Rockies rebounded from an A’s rally to prevail 4-3 in 12 innings Wednesday.

In a matchup of teams with 32 and 31 losses, respectively, the clubs have played on even terms for 21 innings, with Oakland having gotten the upper hand in Tuesday’s one-run affair, 5-4.

On both occasions, a home run in the team’s final at-bat provided the difference. Oakland’s Abraham Toro was the hero in the opener with a tiebreaking solo shot in the eighth, before the Rockies’ Ryan McMahon was the difference-maker in the rematch with a two-run blast in the top of the 12th.

The homer was McMahon’s second of a long-ball-dominated series. All but one of the nine runs in Tuesday’s contest were produced by six homers — three by each team — and five of Wednesday’s seven were delivered by three homers.

McMahon’s homer in the 12th came in a just-make-contact situation, with the Rockies needing only a medium-deep fly ball or a grounder through an infield drawn in to plate the go-ahead run.

He had struck out earlier in the game, which was Oakland reliever Kyle Muller’s goal again in the 12th.

“I really want to cut down on my swings-and-misses,” noted McMahon, who now has nine homers. “Shorten up my swing, being handsy. Last year when I was going good, it was a lot of the same swing thoughts.”

Home runs haven’t been a big issue for Colorado’s scheduled starter in the series finale, right-hander Ryan Feltner (1-4, 5.69 ERA), who has allowed just six in his nine starts.

The 27-year-old, nonetheless, has gone winless in his last six outings, compiling an 0-3 record and 6.82 ERA. He’s coming off one of his worst outings of the season, charged with five runs on seven hits in four innings in a 10-5 loss at San Francisco last Friday.

The fourth-year major leaguer has never faced the A’s.

Nothing personal against Feltner, but A’s manager Mark Kotsay indicated after Wednesday’s loss that his club would be happy to see anyone other than Austin Gomber, who limited Oakland to one run in eight innings Wednesday.

The A’s scored in the ninth off the Colorado bullpen, however, but couldn’t push across a game-winner in the 10th or 11th after holding the Rockies scoreless in the top of the inning, then starting the bottom with a runner at second.

“Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team’s pitcher. He dominated us,” Kotsay said of Gomber. “Credit to our guys; we still had a chance to win that game. We just couldn’t push a run across.”

Feltner is slated to be opposed by A’s righty Joey Estes (1-1, 9.35), who will be making his fifth career start, his third this season.

The first two this year were polar opposites. He limited the Seattle Mariners to two hits and one run over five innings in an 8-1 road win in his season debut May 11. He served up eight runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings in an 8-1 loss at Houston last Thursday.

The 22-year-old will be seeing the Rockies for the first time in his career.

–Field Level Media