Cowgill's collision powers A's past Giants, 6-2
By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
Maybe a little muscle, too.
Cowgill drove in the go-ahead runs and scored in a home plate collision with Lincecum, and the Oakland Athletics snapped an 11-game losing streak in San Francisco with a 6-2 victory Sunday.
"Hallelujah," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I was only here for two of it and I was already tired of hearing about it."
Now, what Bay Area fans will talk about is how the streak ended.
Cowgill capped a four-run fourth inning against Lincecum with a collision that put a scare into San Francisco and its struggling, shaggy-haired ace. Generously listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, Lincecum tried to block the plate after a wild pitch, taking a helmet to the face and falling backward when Cowgill slid into him headfirst to score from second.
Lincecum (2-4) gave up five hits and four runs in four innings to push his ERA to 6.04. He hasn't won since April 28 at San Diego.
"I'm trying to be safe and he's trying to get me out. That's the quickest way I could get in there," Cowgill said. "People say, `Don't slide headfirst into home.' But I think that was the only way I had a chance right there."
Colon struck out seven and walked two in five innings. He allowed two runs and six hits and wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with a pair of strikeouts.
Four relievers kept San Francisco scoreless over the final four innings, including Ryan Cook, who pitched the eighth to extend his scoreless streak to 20 2-3 innings to start the season.
San Francisco's feel-good weekend fizzled in the finale.
Angel Pagan doubled leading off the second to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Pagan, who has a hit in 31 of his last 32 games, scored on Joaquin Arias' sacrifice fly to put the Giants ahead.
"You really had to fight that feeling of, here we go again," Melvin said.
Instead, Lincecum's latest outing started strong but unraveled fast.
After five strikeouts in the first three innings, he walked Daric Barton to load the bases with one out in the fourth. Kurt Suzuki followed with an RBI single and Cowgill's two-run single gave Oakland its first lead of the series, 3-2.
Oakland's fill-in center fielder also handed San Francisco's suddenly shaky ace even more trouble.
Cowgill hustled from second after Lincecum's wild pitch and headed home when the ball squirted away from Posey near the backstop. As Lincecum blocked the plate and waited for Posey's toss, the rim of Cowgill's helmet hammered him in the face, sending the pitcher tumbling backward, legs bent, in a scene that brought back memories of Posey's season-ending collision last summer with the Marlins' Scott Cousins.
"That was a pretty good shot," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum's leveling.
Lincecum lost the ball, and Cowgill scored to put the A's ahead 4-2. Giants trainer Dave Groeschner and Bochy rushed out of the dugout to look at Lincecum, who said he might've hyperextended his left thumb.
He walked around gingerly for several minutes, finished the inning and was lifted for pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz in the bottom of the fourth. With a runner at first, Schierholtz popped out.
"It rattled me a little bit, just the collision, nothing else," Lincecum said. "My thumb got caught. I had him if I hold onto the ball."
Oakland had been scoreless in the 15 previous innings and didn't waste its first lead.
Colon pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out Pagan and Brandon Belt looking. The final strike against both came on a two-seam fastball that zipped back over the middle of the plate.
Reddick ripped a 90 mph sinker from Shane Loux over the 399-foot sign in center in the seventh. The two-run shot extended Oakland's lead to 6-2, and about the only drama left on a sun-soaked afternoon was listening to Cowgill endure boos from the fans each time his name was announced.
The A's ended their longest losing streak in one stadium since dropping 12 in a row at Milwaukee from 1992-95.
NOTES: Oakland slugger Manny Ramirez was scratched from Triple-A Sacramento's lineup with a sore left wrist after he went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Saturday night in Albuquerque, N.M. Melvin said it was a precautionary move and Ramirez expects to play Monday. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval (broken bone in left hand) and 2B Ryan Theriot (right elbow inflammation) will rehab in Arizona while the team travels to Milwaukee for a three-game series starting Monday.
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Updated May 20, 2012