The merry-go-round of runners that had haunted Oakland pitching the last four days was put to a stirring halt by Josh Outman and friends.
It nearly went for naught.
But Matt Holiday saved the day with a two-out, three-run homerun to break a scoreless tie in the eleventh inning, and the A's held on for a 4-1 win, ending their losing skid at four games.
After ten consecutive goose eggs by both pitching staffs, Oakland caught a much-needed break in the eleventh. With Kurt Suzuki aboard via a walk with two out, Jack Cust reached on an error by shortstop Jason Bartlett, setting the stage for Holliday's heroics. The A's added a fourth run on an RBI-double by Adam Kennedy, who is turning out to be a nifty pick-up for Oakland.
Josh Outman was outstanding, man, allowing just three hits and a walk in six innings of work. He worked out of a jam in the third, striking out B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford with two men on. In the sixth he received some help from Holliday and Ryan Sweeney in the field before punching out homerun leader Carlos Pena to put an exclamation point on a solid effort, in which he K'd six.
For awhile it looked as if the A's were going to waste Outman's effort, with the way Shields was dealing. At one point he retired 17 straight batters. Holliday ended the string with a one-out single in the seventh, but Jason Giambi hit into a shift-made double play, 4-5-3.
Michael Wuertz replaced Outman, and gave up a single to Jason Bartlett, who then stole second and went to third on a groundball to second. But Wuertz worked his way out of it by striking out Iwamura and getting Gabe Kapler to line out to center.
Andrew Bailey relieved Wuertz in the eighth and found himself in immediate trouble. After striking out Gabe Gross, he allowed back-to-back singles to Uptown and Crawford. But he struck out Longoria looking. After an intense battle with Pena, who hit a ball just foul that would have broken the tie, Bailey walked him to load the bases, then struck out Bartlett to kill the threat.
Bailey also escaped without being scored upon in the ninth, before handing the ball over to Santiago Casilla, who worked a scoreless tenth, and walked away with the win.