DENVER -- The conversation was short and to the point.
Swisher listened, thought about it, took the advice to heart and hit two home runs anyway -- including the game-tying shot in the ninth -- in Oakland's 3-2, 11-inning victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
"It was a nice kick in the pants," Swisher said of Blanton's suggestion a day earlier. "I was pressing."
Swisher scored the game-winning run on Bobby Kielty's single in the 11th. Swisher noticed that left fielder Matt Holliday was shading toward the line and had a long run to field Kielty's hit -- so he took a chance.
"I didn't even look at (third base coach Ron) Washington," Swisher said.
Swisher led off the inning by drawing a walk from Ray King (1-3) and was sacrificed to second by Mark Kotsay. After Eric Chavez walked, Keilty singled to left and Swisher slid under the tag of Yorvit Torrealba on Holliday's throw home.
Swisher's homer in the ninth off Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, his 19th, gave him his fourth multihomer game of the season and helped the A's avoid a three-game sweep. Swisher also homered in the fourth inning. It was the second time in his career Swisher hit homers from both sides of the plate.
The truth was Swisher didn't try to do anything more than put the ball in play against Fuentes.
"He's nasty," Swisher said.
Swisher also credited an in-game adjustment to his power surge. After striking out against Colorado starter Aaron Cook in the first inning, Swisher looked at his swing on video. He wouldn't say what adjustment was made, only that he altered his swing.
"I've never seen a sinker like he was throwing," Swisher said of Cook's trademark pitch. "He can be successful on just that pitch."
Cook limited Oakland to four hits in eight innings. Cook, who had lost four of his last five starts, struck out five.
"Cook was the best pitcher we faced in the series," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
That's saying something since Colorado's Jason Jennings and Byung-Hyun Kim threw shutouts the previous two nights. Oakland scored three runs in 29 innings at Coors Field.
Kiko Calero (1-1) pitched two innings for the win. He has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances, a span of 11 innings.
The A's finally scored their first run of the series with no outs in fourth inning on Swisher's home run to straightaway center. It was the first run allowed by Colorado since St. Louis scored with two outs in the fourth inning on June 18, a team-record span of 25 1/3 innings.
The Rockies' previous mark for scoreless innings was 24 from April 30 to May 2, 2002.
Oakland starter Barry Zito went seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five. He is 4-0 in June and has won six of his last eight starts.
"Barry had shutout stuff," Macha said. "We were fortunate. Swisher bailed us out."
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle never considered leaving Cook in the game for the ninth. Fuentes is the closer, end of discussion.
"Fuentes has been successful in that role," Hurdle said. "Cook was outstanding. It's a maddening game. He pitched great, and that is what he needs to walk out of here with."
Cook understood the logic behind Hurdle's decision.
"I would love to go out there and get a chance to finish it, but we have a great closer who has been to the All-Star game, and gets the job done more often than not, and does it very effectively," Cook said. "It just didn't work out tonight, so we just have to pick ourselves back up."
The A's came into the series on a 10-game winning streak, but dropped two of three to the Rockies.
"Got skunked two nights in a row," said Swisher, whose team is 15-4 in June. "We're the comeback kids."
|Nick Swisher's solo homer in the ninth inning ties the score and sends the game into extra innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Mike Rouse, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||2||3||.286|
|Nick Swisher, LF||4||3||2||2||1||1||0||.289|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.266|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||3||0||0||0||2||1||0||.259|
|Bobby Kielty, RF||5||0||2||1||0||0||1||.290|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||5||0||2||0||0||0||2||.246|
|Adam Melhuse, C||4||0||0||0||1||1||5||.229|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.225|
|Barry Zito, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|a- Doug Clark, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Huston Street, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jay Payton, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.268|
|Kiko Calero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Zito in the 8th|
|b-flied out for Street in the 10th|
|HR - Nick Swisher 2 (19, Cook, Fuentes)|
|SH - Mark Kotsay (1)|
|RBI - Nick Swisher 2 (48), Bobby Kielty (13)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Bobby Kielty 1|
|DP - Chavez-Johnson|
|E - Dan Johnson (1, Wild throw)|
|Kiko Calero (W,1-1)||2||1||0||0||0||2||0||3.68|
|Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 119-70, Huston Street 25-17, Kiko Calero 25-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Barry Zito 4-10, Kiko Calero 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Barry Zito 31, Huston Street 6, Kiko Calero 7|
|Jamey Carroll, 2B||5||0||3||0||0||0||1||.341|
|Ryan Spilborghs, RF||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.323|
|Todd Helton, 1B||3||0||2||0||2||1||0||.300|
|Matt Holliday, LF||5||0||0||0||0||2||6||.345|
|Garrett Atkins, 3B||4||0||0||0||1||1||0||.313|
|Yorvit Torrealba, C||5||0||1||0||0||1||3||.214|
|Brad Hawpe, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.301|
|Clint Barmes, SS||5||0||0||0||0||0||1||.197|
|Choo Freeman, CF||3||2||2||0||0||1||0||.260|
|Cory Sullivan, CF||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.261|
|Aaron Cook, P||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||.097|
|Brian Fuentes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jorge Piedra, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.091|
|Jose Mesa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ray King, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ramon Ramirez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|a-struck out for Fuentes in the 9th|
|2B - Choo Freeman (3, Zito)|
|SF - Ryan Spilborghs (2)|
|SH - Aaron Cook (5)|
|RBI - Ryan Spilborghs (8)|
|CS - Todd Helton (1, 2nd base by Zito/Melhuse)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Ryan Spilborghs 1|
|DP - Carroll-Barmes-Helton|
|Brian Fuentes (BS,3)||1||1||1||1||0||2||1||2.43|
|Ray King (L,1-3)||0.1||0||1||1||2||0||0||4.12|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Cook 95-62, Brian Fuentes 14-10, Jose Mesa 15-7, Ray King 10-2, Ramon Ramirez 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Cook 16-2, Brian Fuentes 1-0, Jose Mesa 1-2, Ray King 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Cook 28, Brian Fuentes 4, Jose Mesa 5, Ray King 3, Ramon Ramirez 3|
|Attendance - 26489|
|Game Time - 3:08|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Mark Wegner|