Oakland's Eric Sogard, left, scores behind Chicago Cubs catcher Welington Castillo on Tuesday. The A's won 8-7. AP photo

Oakland's Eric Sogard, left, scores behind Chicago Cubs catcher Welington Castillo on Tuesday. The A's won 8-7. AP photo


A’s/Giants: Late homer sends Oakland past Cubs

By From page B4 | July 03, 2013

OAKLAND — Derek Norris hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, and the Oakland Athletics rallied to beat the Chicago Cub, 8-7, on Tuesday night to regain the AL West lead.

Norris sent the 2-2 pitch from James Russell (1-2) over the left-center field wall for his fourth home run this season. Josh Donaldson and Chris Young also homered to put the A’s a half-game ahead of Texas, which lost 9-2 at Seattle.

Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run fifth inning and Welington Castillo drove in three runs for Chicago, which twice blew a two-run lead.

Dan Otero (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for his first career win, and Grant Balfour finished for his 20th straight save this season and 38th overall.

Oakland can once again thank its on-again, off-again catcher for a comeback. Five of Norris’ 11 career home runs have given the A’s the lead, and his latest might’ve even been bigger with starter John Jaso nursing an injured left hand.

Not to mention that he bailed out the men on the mound. Norris threw out Luis Valbuena for the second out of the ninth after Balfour struck out Starlin Castro.

Reds 3, Giants 0: At Cincinnati, the defending World Series champions have hit another low point in a rough season. Not only did they get shut out by Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey, they didn’t even come close to getting a hit.

Bailey threw his second no-hitter in 10 months and the first in the majors this season, pitching the Reds to a 3-0 victory over the slumping San Francisco Giants on Tuesday.

“It was a pretty easy no-hitter,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “We didn’t hit too many balls hard. There weren’t any tough plays. We only hit a couple balls decent. He was really overmatching us all night.”

That’s happened a lot lately.

The Giants fell a season-low five games under .500 (39-44) for the first time this season. The offense has been the big problem — two runs or less in nine of the last 12 games, five runs or fewer in 17 straight.

Bailey became the third Reds pitcher with more than one no-hitter, joining Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer — still the only big leaguer to toss two in a row. Bailey threw the last of the majors’ seven no-hitters last season, a 1-0 win in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28. Now, he has the first one of this season.

The last pitcher to throw one no-hitter and then another before anyone else in the majors accomplished the feat was Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, according to STATS. Baseball’s career strikeout king did it for the California Angels on Sept. 28, 1974, against Minnesota, and June 1, 1975, vs. Baltimore.

The Associated Press

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