With the bullpen struggling, news that Wednesday would be a "staff day" was not exactly music to ears of A's fans.
The bullpen silenced the critics and the Harwich bats with a brilliant performance in a 2-1 Chatham victory at Veteran's Field.
Inning after inning, the A's trotted out a new pitcher and each pitcher was equally as effective as the man who came before him. In total, five A's pitchers combined to scatter five hits and strike out 11 Mariners while only allowing one run.
Kevin McAvoy (Maine) provided all the offense Chatham needed with a two-out, two-RBI single in the sixth. McAvoy's hit came off Harwich reliever Mark Willinsky (Santa Clara), but the runs were charged to starter Ryan Kulik (Rowan), who got the hard luck loss.
Harwich's best opportunity to score came in the eighth with Alex White (UNC), Chatham's fourth pitcher, on the mound. The Mariners loaded the bases with nobody out, but White came back to escape the inning unscathed. The freshman forced an infield fly from Jared Bolden (VCU) and then got Johnny Giovatella (New Orleans) and Jake Opitz (Nebraska) swinging.
Jeff Lorick (UVA) got the start for the A's and did not allow a hit in three innings. In came Kevin Couture (USC), who surrendered one hit and struck out five in his two innings of work. Mitch Houck (Central Florida) then relieved Couture and threw two shutout innings of his own.
After White surrendered a leadoff walk to Cole Figuerora (Florida) in the ninth, his night was over and Bryan Shaw came on to try to close it out. Shaw struck out Kent Matthes (Alabama) but then Steve Strausbaugh (Western Carolina) hit a double into the left-centerfield gap to score Figuerora. Strausbaugh, however, inexcusably got thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple for the second out. Shaw got Alex Avila (Alabama) looking to end the game.
The A's hit the road Sunday night for a 5pm clash with Cotuit. Tom Millone (USC) pitches for Chatham against Ryan Strauss (Florida St.).