SAN FRANCISCO – For a guy tagged as the losing pitcher, there was a pretty big smile on Daniel Coulombe’s face after the A’s 3-0 loss to the Giants Thursday night.
Coulombe threw one scoreless inning in the sixth, then was lifted after San Francisco’s Brandon Belt, batting against the shift, beat the shift with an otherwise routine grounder that went for a single.
That was the end of Coulombe’s night, and while Liam Hendriks would let that run and two more score, Coulombe felt as if he’d continued making his case for earning a spot on the A’s 25-man roster.
“I’ve never been in this spot before,” Coulombe said. He was around for the Bay Bridge Series last year, but back then he was a minor leaguer brought up just to eat up innings. Now at 27, he has a chance to start the season in the big leagues for the first time.
“You can’t ask for anything more than the opportunity, and I feel they’ve given me that,” he said. “I think the last four games have shown what I can do.”
Thursday’s run was the only one allowed by Coulombe in the last four games, and manager Bob Melvin dismissed the Belt single as just a fluke thing. Melvin was happier that Coulombe threw efficiently enough in the sixth inning to warrant going out to start the seventh inning.
“To make this team, he’s going to have to be able to go multiple innings,” Melvin said. “It was a good effort, and even the base hit was just a routine grounder to short if it wasn’t for the shift.”
Coulombe’s 5.79 ERA for the spring isn’t much to crow about. But in his last 8.1 innings he’s allowed just three hits, one walk and the two runs. Before that, he’d had five consecutive games in which he’d been touched for runs.
“The last four have been just what I think I’m capable of,” Coulombe said. “You’d like to think that every game is going to be like these four, but that’s not the way it is. If you are going to do it, though, I think it’s best to do it at the end as you get closer to April.”