Final Score: Mariners 8, A's 5
The past 4 games, the A's have been good at getting men on base, just not so good at getting them all the way to the 5-pointed base, especially with runners at third and less than two outs. Today, 8th inning failures by Bobby Crosby to field his first ground ball of the season, and by Mark Ellis to get a bunt down, became big factors in depriving Oakland of what looked like a great chance to beat Felix Hernandez - or at least beat Seattle.
After Josh Outman made it look easy for two innings, the A's put up three runs off Hernandez in the bottom of the 2nd, the first two driven in by a Landon Powell double in his first major league at bat, another by Orlando Cabrera with a sacrifice fly (ok the A's do sometimes get runners home from third with less than two out).
Outman's Outing turned from great to meh, however, with a Russell Branyan HR and then a two-run 5th that tied the game. Outman went 4.1IP and was charged with 3 ER.
In the 5th, with the game tied 3-3, Jack Cust came up with a man on and did something incredible. He hit the ball over the fence on the fly. Seriously, I'm not kidding, he did. Apparently it's called a "homerun" and it gave the A's a 5-3 lead against King Felix, who would be deposed after 5 innings of 8 strikeout but 5 ER ball.
Then came the top of the 8th. Casilla was on the mound, and Crosby was in for "defense" - because in the late innings, what you try to do is to figure out who your 3rd best defensive 3Bman is and make sure he's in the game. Naturally, the very first hitter bounced one to 3B and even less surprisingly Crosby booted it for an error. Then a single, then a walk to load the bases, so Geren turned, in desperation, to Brad Ziegler, asking for a 6-out save. What he got was a one batter "blown save" and a two batter "lose," as Jose Lopez banged a two-run double and Kenji Johjima followed with a two run single: 7-5 Mariners.
It was still 7-5 when Ellis came up with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the 8th, but Ellis twice bunted foul before grounding into a 4-6-3 DP. Seattle tacked on an insurance run in the 9th, and there you have it.
Failure to get guys home with productive outs (twice yesterday). Failure to capitalize on 7 BBs or to tag up when you're supposed to (yesterday). Failure to field routine ground balls and failure to get down a bunt (today). Not the best 48 hours the A's have ever shown to the home faithful. C'mon, guys. I can hang with the young pitching, but let's sharpen up the easy stuff, 'k?