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One Bad Play Sinks A's as They Lose Series to Royals

You know how the one thing you can't do in a playoff stretch run is to lose a series to a "bad" team? Yeah, well, the A's have now managed that. Helped out by a really terrible play by Yoenis Cespedes (proving that he belongs somewhere other than left field and also that he might still be hurt) and an A's do I put this nicely...that sucks, the A's drop a much-needed series to the Royals, meekly adding six hits and two runs along the way.

Tonight's Weeks-less, Inge-less, and Reddick-less lineup mustered up nothing more than a double, three singles, and a solo homerun against rookie Will Smith, and three of those hits were in the same inning. If I'm being honest, tonight's game was an unacceptable loss for a team in a playoff race; poor defense led to at least two of the Royals three runs and the offense looked for all the world like 2011. (Updated: As I was reminded in the comments, the A's also left two runners on third with less than two outs.)

The A's were down early in the game as a first inning throwing error by Derek Norris led to the Royals' first run. They would tie the game in the second on a Chris Carter double and Brandon Moss single, and would take the lead on a fourth inning homerun by Josh Donaldson. Brandon McCarthy was masterful in his six and two-thirds innings and was dealt a loss he sure as hell didn't deserve after two were out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

McCarthy got the first two outs before he gave up a double. Granted, he made a terrible pitch on the next batter, but any left fielder in the league makes a better play on the ball than Yoenis Cespedes did. He ran to the ball, sort of ducked, and avoided making contact with it as the tying run scored. Sean Doolittle, who replaced McCarthy, gave up another double, and just like that, the A's were down 3-2.

They went 1, 2, 3 in the eighth, and Cespedes definitely was wincing on his later swings, but Carter singled to open the ninth, and Weeks pinch-ran. We still had a chance, right?

I have two questions about the ninth inning:

1) When you have crap-tastic hitters like Norris and Donaldson, and a power-threat like Josh Reddick is available to pinch-hit, WHY DOESN'T HE GET TO PINCH-HIT? The game ended with Reddick in the on-deck circle.

2) WHY DID WEEKS END THE GAME STILL ON FIRST BASE? He pinch-ran with zero outs. He never left first base. Hell, Carter could have done that.

Ugly, awful loss; one that reminds us that the A's are slipping fast. The A's try to salvage a game in the series tomorrow night (yes, night, even in a getaway day). Gametime at 5:10PM.