A's can't take advantage of chances, fall

A's can't take advantage of chances, fall

OAKLAND -- Matt Holliday was ready to write a storybook ending to his first game against his former team.

Eighth inning. A's down 4-1. Runners on the corners. Two away.

Colorado saw the same script unfolding, though. If the Rockies learned one thing about Holliday in his five years with the club, it was that he could change a game with one swing of the bat.

So the Rockies walked him -- on four pitches.

Jason Giambi walked with the bases loaded to bring the A's within two. Kurt Suzuki then popped out to first in foul territory, ending the Oakland threat and essentially putting the wraps on a 4-2 Colorado win in Monday's series opener.

"We had the potential winning run out there with Suzuki coming up," manager Bob Geren said. "That's usually something you feel pretty good about. ... We didn't get it done offensively or defensively. We had chances, but didn't make the most of them."

The A's made two errors that led to two Colorado runs. One was a throwing error by Dallas Braden, which ignited a three-run Rockies fifth. There would have been two outs had he made the play,

"The errors cost him some pitches," Geren said. "That one he made hurt."

Braden needed 100 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings, surrendering four runs (two earned) to take the loss.

It's the first time the 25-year-old has thrown at least 100 pitches without going six or more innings since May 16 at Detroit, where he gave up six runs in five innings -- his worst start of the year.

"Poor to quite poor," Braden said of his performance. "This was a good example of what happens when you don't locate your pitches."

An early Oakland miscue led to Colorado's first run. Jack Hannahan bounced a throw to first in the opening frame that Daric Barton was unable to come up with, allowing Ryan Spilborghs to reach on an error.

Garrett Atkins made the A's pay, delivering a double on a soft line drive down the left-field line to bring Spilborghs home.

The Rockies pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fifth. Dexter Fowler dropped down a sacrifice bunt following a one-out single by Clint Barmes. Braden barehanded the ball, but his throw pulled Barton off the bag and both runners were safe.

After Spilborghs walked to load the bases, Todd Helton drove Barmes and Fowler home with a broken-bat single to left. Atkins then drove Spilborghs home for the second time, this time with a single to left.

Colorado sent eight men to the plate in the inning, causing Braden to labor through 23 pitches.

Rockies starter Jason Hammel, meanwhile, was having his way with the Oakland lineup. He tossed 7 1/3 innings of four-hit ball to earn the win and improve his record to 5-3.

Holliday went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk. Suzuki hit a two-out solo home run in the seventh.

Former A's closer Huston Street, acquired by Colorado in the Holliday deal, pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 17th save.

Adam Loberstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.