The title of this recap is pure irony; the A's, after falling behind 2-0 in the 10th inning, managed to rally for two to tie the game and keep playing on in the 11th on the strength of a Reddick double; he was thrown out as the winning run at the plate.The A's bullpen, not content with a two-run deficit, made sure to spot Houston a 3-run lead in the next inning, and behind a single by Sogard and a home run by Marcus Semien into the cold, wet Oakland night--no small feat--the A's indeed hit the home run that was almost, but not quite, good enough. The A's would threaten again with already two runs in against Pat Neshek, and would get a man to second base with no one out, but two pop-ups and a long fly ball ended the game in Houston's favor.
The bullpen is the easy blame in this game, with the notable exceptions of Evan Scribner, who looked every bit the part of an eighth-inning guy, and Tyler Clippard, who easily had his best outing of the year in his ninth inning appearance tonight, but this game never should have gone into extra innings. The A's "lefty lineup" looked impotent all night (ahem, all season), even with the small victory of Craig Gentry's first hit of the year. It might be time to take a hard look at the platoon; there is a such a stark difference in offense between the lineups.
Meanwhile, Dallas Keuchel pitched a full nine innings against the A's, allowing just two hits; it would have been a complete game had Houston been able to score but a single run, but the A's were bound and determined to stretch this game out to the bitter end . Scott Kazmir pitched seven scoreless inning of his own, striking out seven and lowering his season ERA to 0.99 as the A's wasted the outing.
The A's best--and only--opportunity to score early was in the third, as they loaded the bases with one out before Ben Zobrist--limping badly all night--grounded into an inning-ending double play. The first bullpen disaster was Dan Otero, who allowed a two-out double to a George Springer. The A's elected to intentionally walk Jed Lowrie, so of course Marwin Gonzalez drives both runs in to give Houston the 2-0 lead. Thanks to a Sam Fuld "single" and a pinch-hitting Stephen Vogt "single"; both slight misplays by Houston, Josh Reddick's two-out, pinch-hit, two-run double scored both runs to tie the game. The throw to the plate may have had a chance at Vogt, but once it sailed past the catcher, Reddick was also sent home and was thrown out easily at the plate by the pitcher, who was backing up, sending the game to the 11th.
Enter Eric O'Flaherty, who promptly walked the first two hitters he faced, and it wasn't even close. Instead of taking him out right then and there, Melvin elected to allow him to give up both runs before turning the game over to Abad. One George Springer would single in the third run for Houston, and despite the A's valiant comeback against Neshek, and a great at-bat by Fuld against Tony Sipp, the A's fell one run short, adding tonight's loss to a small pile of weird and wacky ways to break fans' hearts. Unless, in this case, the fans' hearts were full from the Warriors' dramatic comeback last night.
But seriously. I'm not sure I want to see certain members of the bullpen again, nor do I want to see this lineup put together in the same way. We do this all again tomorrow at 1:05. Graveman vs. Feldman.