Sonny Gray and the Oakland A’s were unable to pick up a series win on Sunday against the Orioles, as Baltimore won the rubber game 10-3.
It was another frustrating day for the A’s offense, as evidenced by the fact that they went 1-7 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base overall.
Those numbers aren’t quite enough proof of the A’s inability to break through against O’s starter Scott Feldman – in the first, the A’s managed to pick up an early run thanks to a two-out bloop single from Alberto Callaspo. The inning ended, though, when Seth Smith struck out with runners on the corners.
Sonny Gray, making his fourth career start, was ambushed by an Orioles attack that jumped on his pitches early in counts – before he threw his fifteenth pitch, Baltimore had reclaimed the lead at 2-1, thanks to singles from Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones and a sac fly from Matt Wieters.
The O’s bats stayed hot in the second, as a J.J. Hardy double and a Brian Roberts single plated their third run off Gray, who had yet to allow two earned runs in a start this season. Two batters later, Machado drove in the Orioles’ fourth run on a sacrifice fly – and Chris Davis followed that up with an RBI single of his own, extending the lead to 5-1 over Oakland.
The A’s offensive frustration continued in the third, which was more or less their final opportunity to really make an effort to come back against Feldman. Two-out walks to Josh Donaldson an Brandon Moss brought up Callaspo, who reached on a hit by pitch. Feldman appeared to be struggling with his location in the inning, but Smith swung on the first pitch and popped out to Nate McClouth in left, ending the inning in particularly frustrating fashion (and giving Smith 5 LOBs on the day).
Another sacrifice fly from Machado in the fourth gave the Orioles a 6-1 lead, spelling the end of the day for Gray (final line: 3 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K).
After Josh Reddick struck out in the sixth inning, he was replaced in the outfield by Moss. Word from the team was that Reddick re-injured his ailing right wrist (more on that later).
Jerry Blevins allowed the O’s an additional run on a solo homer to Hardy in the sixth.
In the top of the eighth, Josh Donaldson connected on a pitch from T.J. McFarland on a two-run homer of his own, scoring Jed Lowrie and pulling the A’s closer at 7-3, but that was the end of the A’s scoring.
Seldom-used reliever Pat Neshek pitched the eighth and was greeted by a solo homer from Nick Markakis, a Hardy single and a two-run shot off the bat of McLouth, putting the game out of reach at 10-3, which was the final score.
After the game, Susan Slusser reported that first baseman Daric Barton may be heading to Detroit to join the A’s tomorrow if Reddick heads to the D.L. with his wrist issue. Should that happen, it’s presumed that Brandon Moss will shift to the outfield in Reddick’s absence, with Barton and Freiman platooning at first base:
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 25, 2013
Because the Rangers lost to the White Sox again on Sunday, the A’s (who fell back to 72-57 with the loss) didn’t lose any ground in the A.L. West standings, so that’s at least a positive result from Sunday’s action. The A’s could have made a statement with a win in Baltimore, but they failed to capitalize – and now they head to Detroit for what will undoubtedly be a tough hard-fought four-game series with the A.L. Central’s leading team.
Tomorrow, A.J. Griffin (10-9, 3.84 ERA) will kick off the series against Anibal Sanchez (11-7, 2.45 ERA) at 4:08 p.m. PDT.