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Game #114: A's Horrific Defensive Inning Secures Loss

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It all came down to one nightmare inning for the A's and Kendall Graveman, who absolutely pitched better than his line will reflect as the Blue Jays downed the A's 4-2 in tonight's game. The A's offense was nothing to write home about, but it was most certainly their defense that cost them the game.

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If you ignore the second inning of tonight's game, the A's win the game 2-1. In a different year, in a different life, they might have taken this game for Kendall Graveman with his only blemish a solo home run to Jose Bautista in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, all the hard work the A's put into defense fell apart in the second inning as it turned into an absolute nightmare for the team on the field, and poor Graveman. He was charged with only one run of the three, but he should have been out of the inning without even that run scoring. The second inning work also prevented him from even completing five in the game.

The A's got on the board early in the first as Coco Crisp walked with one out, and Josh Reddick hit into what was called a double-play on the field, but the call at first base was overturned to leave Reddick on base with two outs. Magical Danny Valencia doubled in the first run of the game, and the A's were off and running. Until the bottom of the second.

Graveman mowed through Tulowitzki, Donaldson and Bautista in the first with nary an extra pitch, but ran into all kinds of fielding trouble behind him in the next inning. The first batter started with a "double," a nasty turf bounce over the head of Coco Crisp. It only got worse from there as the next batter, Russell Martin, hit a ground ball to Semien, who, after looking at the runner scampering to third base, rushed his throw to first. Ike Davis had no chance; it was an ugly error. The run scored to tie the game and Martin ended up at second base, again with no one out. The next batter, Smoak, cracked a double of his own to give the Blue Jays the 2-1 lead, was called out at second base, and that call was also overturned to have put yet another runner on second with no one out.

Just for funsies, Eric Sogard got into the action and botched the next play, putting runners at first and third with no one out. The next batter grounded again to Sogard, and lo and behold, someone finally made a routine defensive play. Of course, the ground out scored the Blue Jays third run. Sogard made the second out, as well, and Semien nearly, nearly threw the ball away again; only a nice play by Ike Davis recorded the last out of the nightmare inning.

Graveman never recovered; he was pulled in the fifth inning for Scribner and Leon, who were both perfect in their outings. The A's offense couldn't get out of its own way in its just two chances to score; both Sogard and Burns singled to lead off the third, but a double-play from Coco Crisp erased the threat, and after Semien singled to lead off the eighth, Sogard ended up with a sacrifice bunt and Billy Burns singled him in. Crisp struck out and Reddick grounded out to end the threat, and the inning.

And just like that, the promising three game win streak comes to a screeching halt as the A's lose another sloppy game.

"That might be the worst inning we’ve played this year," A’s manager Bob Melvin said. "And we’ve had some bad defensive innings. But all the way around, we basically gave them the whole inning. It should have been a different kind of game if we’d played any kind of defense that inning."

Exactly. We do it again tomorrow night; same time, same place. New victim pitcher: Aaron Brooks.