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After it was over, Cubs manager Dusty Baker could only rub his forehead in frustration and bemoan another one-run loss.
Playoff teams almost always discover the difference between playing baseball and going fishing in October is their record in one-run games.
Last year, when the Cubs made the playoffs, they were 27-17.
This year, after Friday's 2-1 loss to Oakland, they are 8-11.
"Another one-run loss," a frustrated Baker said, barely audible.
He chose the correct word, "another." Of the Cubs' last five losses, four have been by one run.
Cubs starter Matt Clement has been in four one-run games this season and has lost two of them, including a 1-0 defeat.
"It has been a year when all (the games I pitch) have come down to the end," Clement said. "If you're in the game and the team is in the game, that means you're throwing well."
And although Clement threw very well, his teammates gave him little support.
That included Sammy Sosa, who made his first appearance in a month, but struck out twice, flied out once and bounced out to end the game.
"As expected, he figured to be a little rusty," Baker said. "He'll get better."
With the loss, the Cubs had a six-game winning streak halted in front of a crowd of 40,073 on a Wrigley Field afternoon cooled by breezes coming off Lake Michigan.
With the victory, the first-place A's, who blew three leads in losses at St. Louis, are 13-9 in one-run decisions.
Cubs bats were deadened completely by Mark Redman (5-3), the first of three consecutive left-handers they will face. The Cubs had been 4-0 at Wrigley Field against lefty starters and 7-4 for the season, but Redman allowed only four hits and one unearned run in his eight innings.
Submariner Chad Bradford picked up a struggling A's bullpen with his first save of the year, pitching a perfect ninth inning that included getting Sosa on a grounder to short to end the game.
"[Redman] didn't give us a whole bunch to hit," Baker said.
The Cubs' only run came in the fifth inning. Derrek Lee singled and reached second when first baseman Erubiel Durazo made an errant throw on Corey Patterson's grounder.
Ramon Martinez's single brought home Lee, but with runners at second and third, Clement bounced out and Todd Walker flied out.
Clement (7-5) threw eight strong innings, but Cubs batters have scored an average of 3.2 runs when he has pitched.
Although he struck out eight and walked none, Clement had trouble retiring A's leadoff hitter Mark Kotsay, who homered in the third inning and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.
"If not for Kotsay, they wouldn't have gotten anything," Baker said.
"It doesn't matter who it is, it could be the pitcher hitting two home runs," Clement said. "It's frustrating for me. Kotsay was hot coming in and I threw him two bad pitches."
Redman also beat Clement and the Cubs when he was with Florida last year.
"He's doing something right," Clement said. "He has my number a little bit."
The Cubs' numbers figured to be lacking some Friday, as Baker twice refused to use Moises Alou, the team's home run and RBI leader.
First, Todd Hollandsworth started in place of Alou, who was getting a well-deserved day off. This was even though lefty Redman was starting and Hollandsworth is a left-handed batter.
The second time was in the eighth inning, with one out and Clement coming up to bat. Instead of Alou against lefty Redman, Baker sent out lefty Tom Goodwin to pinch-hit. Goodwin flied out.
"I could have used Alou, but they would have brought in [right-hander] Bradford, and Redman has more trouble against left-handers than right-handers," Baker said.