Sergio Santos loses his slider and A’s end their 10-game losing streak

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It looked like it was going to be 11 in a row for the A’s, but in new manager Bob Melvin’s second game at the helm, the team’s newest acquisition came up big.

Scott Sizemore hit a three-run double in the top of the ninth to give the A’s a 7-5 lead and halt the team’s long losing streak Friday with a victory over the White Sox.

Sergio Santos blew his second save in 13 attempts for the White Sox.  The converted shortstop just couldn’t find his slider tonight.  He got two outs to begin the ninth in a 5-3 game, but he then walked Josh Willingham, who took second on fielder’s indifference.  Hideki Matsui singled him in and then Santos walked Daric Barton and hit Kurt Suzuki with a breaking ball to load the bases.

Left with nothing but his straight fastball, Santos proved hittable.  Sizemore drilled one to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases with ease.  Sizemore finished the game — his third since replacing Kevin Kouzmanoff as the team’s third baseman — 3-for-4 with a walk.  The former Tiger is 5-for-9 since his callup.

And now the A’s are on the board again, even though Graham Godfrey struggled in his major league debut, giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.  Edwin Jackson pitched six innings of two-run ball for the White Sox, only to have the bullpen let him down. Santos has suddenly given up seven runs in his last two appearances, taking his ERA from 1.24 to 3.23.  It’s not going to cost him the closer’s role, but the White Sox are surely concerned.  For all of his velocity, he doesn’t have the fastball movement to succeed when his slider isn’t working.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.