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Athletics 7, Rockies 6

Athletics 7, Rockies 6
PHOENIX (AP) - It was another rough day for an Oakland Athletics starting pitcher.

Sean Gallagher gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings Sunday, and then was summoned into a meeting with general manager Billy Beane. Gallagher emerged a few minutes later and said that Beane had just wanted to "light a little fire under my butt."

"It wasn't a good day of executing pitches for me," the right-hander added.

Oakland did get some good news on the field as Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the A's a 7-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies, snapping a 10-game losing streak.

Beane's message to Gallagher was perhaps a sign that the A's are growing nervous that opening day is drawing near and the team's starters have been so shaky.

Despite Gallagher's struggles, he remains likely to be in a rotation that has been muddled all spring. After the game, the A's reassigned Edgar Gonzalez to their minor-league camp. That leaves Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Outman as the candidates for the final two spots in the rotation, with Anderson and Cahill almost certain to win the jobs. Dallas Braden, Dana Eveland and Gallagher are likely the top three.

The Rockies, meanwhile saw their rotation competition get a little clearer, with Franklin Morales taking a big step ahead of Greg Smith.

Smith started and made it through only 1 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and leaving the game complaining of shoulder trouble.

"I wouldn't call it an injury, just some inflammation in my shoulder that happens every spring," Smith said. "I had it last year and pitched through it, but I'm not going to pitch through it this time."

Smith, acquired in the trade that sent Matt Holliday to the A's, had already missed some time this spring with the flu.

"Greg has been fighting an uphill battle all year," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "I don't think we've been able to see the guy that our scouts saw pitch last year in the American League."

Morales pitched five strong innings in relief. He had not allowed a run until the ninth, when Kurt Suzuki led off with a single and Denorfia yanked a game-winning homer to left.

"Franklin threw the ball very well," Hurdle said. "He really pitched today. He mixed speeds, had good command of the fastball. If we go with five (starters), he'll be in the mix."

The Rockies have enough off days early in the season that could use four starters until April 21.

Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe had two hits, including a double, in his first game since March. 20. Hawpe had been out because of a strained left hamstring. Before that he missed two weeks with a lacerated pinkie finger. This was only Hawpe's seventh exhibition game with the Rockies this spring.

Notes: The A's optioned OF Aaron Cunningham, INF Gregorio Petit and RHP Chris Schroeder to Triple-A Sacramento and reassigned C Joel Galarraga, Gonzalez and INF Corey Wimberly to their minor-league camp. ... The A's have scheduled RHP Justin Duchscherer's elbow surgery for Tuesday. Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the operation. The A's won't know how much time Duchscherer will miss until after the procedure, but it is expected to be at least six weeks. ... LHP Gio Gonzalez is expected to pitch in a minor league game Monday or Tuesday. Gonzalez, who has been out for two weeks because of a sore shoulder, remains in the mix for a bullpen job. ... OF Ryan Sweeney was out because of a strained upper left quad injured a day earlier. Sweeney is day to day. ... 1B Daric Barton returned to action after missing four days because of a sore quad. ... RHP Brad Ziegler pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance with the A's since returning from the World Baseball Classic.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: March 30, 2009

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