After taking an early lead twice over the first four innings, the A’s were figuratively and literally knocked flat on their backs Wednesday afternoon by the Mariners.
A.J. Griffin struggled with his consistency from the mound, and the Oakland bats could not come up with the big hit in an eventual 5-3 loss to Seattle.
“Everything that we did today is what’s wrong with us. We didn’t add on early, we didn’t make pitches when we had to, we didn’t come through in situational at-bats. Ugly, ugly game for us,” said an aggravated Bob Melvin after the game.
After Coco Crisp hit the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning over the right field wall, Jed Lowrie smashed a triple to start a first inning rally for the A’s. However, three straight batters could not bring Lowrie in from third.
Oakland was just 1-9 with RISP on the day, and since the All-Star break are batting just .195 (50-257) in those situations.
“We’re leaving guys on third with less than two outs, we’re not getting guys over, and that’s what cost us the game today and you’ve seen it for the better part of the second half,” said Melvin. “It comes to a point where you just have to step up and get it done.”
Walks and home runs continued to be an issue for Griffin, as two of the four batters he walked came around to score with the other two runs allowed by the righty came on solo home runs.
“I’ve been trying to be more careful and not give in to guys as much, that’s where the walks are coming from, but I feel like I’m going out there and being competitive and trying to give us a chance to win ballgames,” said Griffin who regained his ML lead in home runs allowed with now 30 on the season.
On the most controversial play of the day, catcher Stephen Vogt was hit like a defenseless punt receiver in football during a home plate collision as he caught a perfect throw from Yoenis Cespedes. Vogt rolled around in agony as he held the ball up in what appeared to be an incorrect safe call by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
With Derek Norris out with a foot injury, third baseman Josh Donaldson ran to the dugout to throw on his catching gear, yet Vogt demonstrated his toughness and stayed in the game.
On the offensive side of the ball, Brandon Moss launched a solo home run (20) that tied him for the most on the team with Cespedes, who slapped a pair of doubles himself.
After an off-day Thursday, the A’s will start a three-game series in Baltimore Friday. Dan Straily (6-7, 4.22) will take the mound opposite Bud Norris (9-10, 3.93) with first pitch at 4:05 PST.