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Game #128: M's Cruz Past A's 8-2

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Mariners swung the bat early and often batting around in the first inning to spoil Bully Burns lead-off home run as they secure the series win in today's 8-2 Oakland loss.

Chris Bassitt hands the ball to Bob Melvin in the fifth inning after a rough start to today's loss.
Chris Bassitt hands the ball to Bob Melvin in the fifth inning after a rough start to today's loss.
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

If you're looking for a highlight from today's game look no further than the first pitch. With Felix Hernandez on the mound Billy Burns clobbered his first offering over the right-center wall for his third home run of the season. Why do pitchers challenge this man with a fastball to start the at bat? All three of Burns' home runs this season have come off of the first pitch. Perhaps it's an ego thing, either way, that quick the A's were up 1-0 against the King.

If you want to spend the rest of this Wednesday with a smile on your face, then stop reading now. Bassitt took the ball in the bottom of the first looking to continue his solid stretch of August starts. He has pitched into the seventh inning or more all month. Young careers tend to experience the occasional speed bump, however, and today was such a day.

Bassitt Shaky Early On

Staked a one-run lead, Chris looked for the shutdown inning, but instead allowed the Mariners to bat around giving up four runs in the process. First up was a single by Ketel Marte, who has scorched the A's this series. After a quick ground out, the Mariners would string together five straight hits for a 4-1 lead. Each hit seemed softer than the one prior as they each fell between soft gaps in the A's defense.

Already having scored four runs, the Mariners could have made this inning much worse. Chris would walk Brad Miller to load the bases with one out. Luckily, Chris would induce the next batter Jesus Sucre into a pop-out. Then Marte, who led off the inning, would ground out to end the parade. Chris was able to walk back to the dug out still in the game and the A's down only three runs.

When the King is Angry he gets Efficient

Felix wasn't happy about giving up the lead-off home run to Burns and he took his anger out on the rest of the A's lineup. After the home run, he would retire the next seven A's batters in a row before allowing a walk to Eric Sogard in the third. Sogard would reach second on a Burns ground out, but go no farther as Mark Canha struck out to end the inning.

The remainder of Felix's day would follow a similar pattern of efficient pitching. After a 1-2-3 fourth, he would allow a lead off single to Billy Butler, but strand him at first. In the sixth Felix walked Josh Reddick with two outs, but also stranded him. His only other blemish besides Burns's home run was another solo shot, this time Brett Lawrie to lead off the seventh. But Lawrie's home run was only the third hit of the game for the A's as Felix would finish his day with a 1-2-3 eighth. Final line: 8.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB.

Bassitt Sweats out 4.1 Innings

After his disastrous first inning, Chris would settle down to keep the A's in the game, although his teammates made it anything but easy. He walked Nelson Cruz in the second and induced Robinson Cano into what should have been an inning ending ground out, but Canha booted the ball. Sogard picked it up, but Bassitt bobbled the catch allowing Cano to reach safely. Fortuitously Seth Smith would ground into an inning ending double play to end the threat. The third saw a similar two men on, one out situation as Chris issued two walks, but was again saved by a double play. A slick 5-4-3 round-the-horn double play at that. The fourth would be a 1-2-3 for Chris, showing how well he bounced back from his early struggled.

Chris would start the fifth, and his effort should have seen him finish the inning, but an error pushed his pitch count too high. Cano the first batter hit a hard liner to Marcus Semien who would boot it for his 32nd error on the season. Semien is getting better at the position, but even the average errors are scrutinized due to his early season struggles. Cano would reach second after Chris walked Smith, but this was followed by a Trumbo strike out for another two on, one out jam for Chris. No double play this time, however, as Logan Morrison hit a soft liner to right field that fell just in front of the diving Reddick. Luckily, Cano misread the ball and failed to score from second.

Bullpen Puts the Game out of Reach

Now with the bases load and one out Edward Mujica came into the game with the A's still down only three runs. Jokingly, the AN comments guessed how many runs Edward would allow, but amazingly he got out of the jam by striking out Miller and inducing Sucre into a ground out. Another great performance from Edward in this Seattle series.

Everyone's favorite switch-pitcher Pat Venditte came on to pitch the sixth, but yielded another run. Throwing left, he would allow a lead off double to Marte, but get Kyle Seager to ground out. Pat then switched to throwing right, but gave up an RBI single to Cruz to extend the Mariners lead to 5-1. Pat would get the next two outs throwing left, though, to escape the inning.

For the seventh it was Sean Doolittle in his continuing bid to comeback as the A's closer. His velocity was in the low 90's, but he still isn't the same. After allowing a walk to Morrison a strange play occurred. Sean got Morrison in a rundown on a pick-off attempt, but a poor throw from Canha to Semien on the relay allowing Morrision to squeeze past the tag to reach second safely. A single to pinch-hitter Austin Jackson advanced Morrison to third who scored on a fielders choice by Sucre. For the second inning in a row the A's bullpen allowed the Mariners to pad their lead, which now stood at 6-2.

Fernando Abad came in for the eighth, but promptly gave up back-to-back home runs to Seager and Cruz for an 8-2 Mariners lead. Evan Scribner finished out the inning, but it was too late. Felix kept the A's in check all game and the bullpen eliminated any hope of a comeback.

Next up the A's travel to Arizona for a weekend series against the Chip Hale led Diamondbacks. More importantly, the series kicks off with a Sonny Gray start on Friday night.