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SF@OAK: Matsui's two-out single plates a pair of A's

OAKLAND -- Prior to Saturday's Bay Bridge Series matchup with the Giants, A's manager Bob Melvin admitted to having a few superstitions. Apparently, his team does too, and if they keep winning, the A's may never wear a non-gold jersey again.

After winning three straight games sporting the alternate tops, the A's pushed the streak to four Saturday night as they downed the Giants, 4-2, and clinched their second straight series win.

"If it ain't broke, right?" Melvin joked before the game.

After his team rallied from a two-run deficit in front of another sold-out Coliseum crowd, the A's skipper sang a similar tune.

"I'm guessing there's a chance this jersey is tomorrow," he said.

The A's continued their recent success at home despite not getting a quality start from their starter for the first time in three days. Righty Guillermo Moscoso tossed just 4 2/3 innings and gave up two runs -- both in the fifth and both unearned.

The Giants got on the board first in the frame after Moscoso fielded an Emmanuel Burriss sacrifice bunt attempt on the third-base side. Moscoso tried to throw out lead runner Chris Stewart, but an errant throw past third baseman Scott Sizemore led to Stewart scoring. Two batters later, Aubrey Huff picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly to put the Giants on top 2-0 and chasing Moscoso from the game.

"One error kills me and I have to get out of the game," Moscoso said. "But I know we're playing to win the game. ... We're coming from struggling and now we're back on track."

The A's had an answer for the Giants, though, and got back on track in the bottom of the frame, scoring four off Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez. Sizemore hit a one-out single before Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington followed with a pair of RBI doubles to tie the game at 2.

Pennington advanced to third on one of Sanchez's two wild pitches before the southpaw walked Coco Crisp. The A's center fielder, hitting third for the first time since July 25, 2005, then swiped second for his 21st steal of the season.

Hideki Matsui, who was moved to the cleanup role with Josh Willingham sidelined by a sore Achilles tendon, knocked a base hit through the right side that cleared the bases. Since Melvin reinserted Matsui into the everyday lineup, the slugger is hitting .321 with nine RBIs, including Saturday's go-ahead RBIs, which Giants manager Bruce Bochy called a "seeing-eye single."

"You know what? They got it and we didn't," Bochy said.

That's been the difference for the A's the last four games, and overall since Melvin took over nine games ago.

"I think the thing that stands out is the fight, the perseverance," Melvin said. "That was a big momentum shift from one inning to the next, and them scoring and for us to come back and put up a four-spot on top of that. That's what I've seen, really since I've been here. Win or lose, that's what I've seen."

After the four-run rally, the A's bullpen completed the momentum shift, as five relievers combined to toss the final 4 1/3 innings and blanked the Giants' lineup, shutting the door each inning with the go-ahead or tying runs at the plate.

"Nothing these guys do surprises me anymore," said Brad Ziegler, who earned the win after throwing six pitches in one-third of an inning to get the A's out of the jam in the fifth. "We expect to have success every time out. They step up and close the door and don't even give the team a breath of hope. It's exciting to watch and it's exciting to be a part of that.

"We're feeding off each other for sure. No matter who gets the opportunity, we take it as a challenge. We don't want to let anyone else down, let alone the rest of the team."

The bullpen didn't disappoint anyone Saturday, except for the contingent of Giants fans in the Coliseum. Aside from Ziegler's brief appearance, Joey Devine, Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Andrew Bailey each pitched a scoreless frame. The quartet combined to record six strikeouts and a double play that ended the game and gave Bailey his fourth save of the season.

As for the gold jerseys, Melvin isn't the only one who believes they'll make more appearances in the immediate future.

"Absolutely," Ziegler said when asked if the team would wear them for Sunday's series finale. "We'll take them on the road if we win [Sunday]." Comments