Bullpen showing early-season success

Bullpen showing early-season success

OAKLAND -- When Michael Wuertz made his season debut on Tuesday night, it signaled the bullpen's return to full strength. With the rash of injuries the A's have faced this season, the bullpen is now the only fully intact unit.

On Tuesday, it completed six innings of relief work, allowing two earned runs on four hits, to secure the 7-6 win.

"Excellent job by the bullpen last night," A's manager Bob Geren said. "When you have to take your starter out in a one-run game that early on, you have to have a really solid performance by everybody."

Finishing up the job once again was A's closer Andrew Bailey, who is stringing together an impressive sequence dating back to last season.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year has converted his previous 25 save opportunities and currently boasts a career-high 19 2/3 innings scoreless streak.

Still, Bailey was quick to deflect praise to the middle relievers after Tuesday night's game, when he earned his fourth save of the year by recording the final four outs.

"I'm the first one to say that the closer's role may be overrated," Bailey said. "You don't win the games in the ninth inning, you win the games in the fifth, sixth seventh innings."

As proficient as Bailey's been, he hasn't had many opportunities to close out games this season. Oakland has had just five save opportunities this season, while Kansas City leads the league with 15. The A's remain the only Major League team that hasn't blown a save.