Well, it's bound to happen sometime. The A's can't win every game. But interestingly enough, in the A's last 22 games, the club has only lost four games, and two of them can be directly attributed to Doolittle. It isn't so much one run, as it is the bunches of runs, and today was his fourth poor outing in his last five. Today, with a little help from a bad call, he turned a 1-1 game into a 4-1 loss, very reminiscent of last week, when he sent the game against the Brewers to extra innings by giving up another 3 runs in a game the A's would eventually lose, and I really do wonder if something is going on. The first run he allowed today was a bad umpiring call; the runner never should have been on base, but he was hit hard again after that.
It's was really a shame to waste Tommy Milone's pitching performance today. He ended with 7 innings pitched, his career high in pitches (118), one earned run, one walk, and seven strikeouts. And the A's offense did not help him. Aside from the first inning, where the A's squandered a great chance at multiple runs, the A's were held to one single until the ninth inning, where they got another single. Seriously, four hits isn't ever going to get you very far. John Danks owned the A's today, despite a rocky first inning.
And it started out so well, too. Coco Crisp singled to start the game, and Reddick walked to put two on with no outs. After Cespedes struck out, Josh Donaldson singled Coco in for the A's first and only run, and an error allowed Reddick to advance to third. With runners at first and third, Lowrie hit into a double-play, ending the inning, and the A's would never mount another threat.
Meanwhile, Milone fought hard to get the game to the eighth inning, allowing only a solo homerun to Dunn in the second (a questionable hit, since he took a pretty borderline 2-2 pitch), but when Doolittle took over, things went very wrong. It looked like Jed Lowrie made the tough play on a softly hit ball to get the first out of the inning, and the runner was called safe, an ominous sign of things to come. Unlike last night, today's sacrifice bunt was perfectly executed, bringing up, once again, Rios and Dunn with the go-ahead run on second. Instead of last night's outcome, Rios singled in the run and Dunn homered again for good measure, and just like that, the A's were down 4-1.
They fought semi-valiantly in the ninth, as Coco singled and stole second to start the inning, but Reddick lined out, Cespedes popped out, and Josh Donaldson was on the losing end of another umpire call on an infield play. He looked safe, just as the White Sox runner looked out, so the A's ended up on the losing end of both of the calls.
Do you want a silver lining? The A's are still in first place, thanks to a Toronto walk-off in the 18th inning today. That is not a typo. I was originally hoping that the Rangers' game would be over before the A's game started, but the Rangers rallied in the ninth to tie the game and send it to extras. The Rangers' game ended about 90 seconds before the A's game ended, and it wasn't even the most innings played today! The Mets and Marlins played 20.
And so it goes. The A's were cooled off a bit today, but can take the series tomorrow with a win. Gametime is 11:00AM, so make it brunch with the A's: Griffin vs. Santiago.