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Continued: At age 35, Athletics' Balfour has finally made it

  • Article by: JOHN HICKEY , San Jose Mercury News
  • Last update: July 16, 2013 - 12:44 AM

He has 43 consecutive saves dating to last season.

“The streak speaks for itself,” manager Bob Melvin said. “And it’s not just this year, but last year, too. We feel very comfortable when he takes the mound with the lead. He’s not someone who backs down from a challenge.”

Last October, with the A’s down two games to one in the AL playoffs and facing a two-run deficit in the ninth inning of Game 4, Balfour made an impassioned plea to his teammates to believe in themselves.

“I said, ‘Believe it. Believe it. See yourself run on that field. Every one of you, put your mind to it and believe it and see yourself run on the field with a walk-off victory. Just see it and believe it,’ ” Balfour recalled.

The A’s rallied to beat Detroit and square the series at 2-2 before losing Game 5. It wasn’t for a lack of fight.

If he pitches in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, Balfour expects to bring the same attitude with him as if he were pitching in Oakland.

“I’ll bring that intensity with me,” he said. “That’s who I am. That’s how I pitch. I’m not going to go out there and do cartwheels, but I’ll pitch how I pitch.”

It works for the A’s.

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