After ending their six-game winning streak with Saturday's loss to the Blue Jays, there was not a lot of hope coming into this game. Why you ask? After all, we enter the game tied for first with the Rangers (10-8)! The answer is simple: Eric Surkamp. This is a guy who hasn't completed six innings yet and is rumored to be heading to Nashville. Surkamp: The guy who has a locker that really belongs to Jesse Hahn. Surkamp: The one who was allowed to go out and repeat what he did in his first two starts -- this time only lasting 4.2 innings. Surkamp: Kamikaze on a suicide mission. Against this Blue Jay lineup, all he could do is fly in and explode into pieces. And that is exactly what he did.
Surkamp gave up a lead-off hit to Carrera and walked Jose Bautista. While no one scored, his fastball -- which is touted to have "movement" -- did not move. More than that, he kept leaving the ball up and the Jays eventually capitalized on this. In the first, Encarnacion almost capitalized immediately by taking it deep to the warning track in center field.
Ok, a little slack: By the time Surkamp pitched to Tulowitzki (batter 5 in the first), it appeared that he might be gaining control as evidenced by moving the ball in and out, keeping it down, and striking out Tulo. Surkamp was less in control the first four batters, getting lucky on an Encarnacion shot to the warning track. So there was a slight glimmer of hope. But that control did not last long and neither did the hope. Surkamp went on to take the loss along with the A's and a final score of 3-6.
Surkamp's third inning implosion started the deep fall. While a bit of life stayed in the A's bats throughout the game, there just wasn't enough juice to get past Hutchison or his replacements Chavez, Cecil, Storen, and closer Osuna. As an aside, it was great to see Jesse Chavez. I did note that the blue made him look washed out -- not that I'm fashion conscious. Or maybe he just left his California tan behind. Either way, it was great to see him albeit on the other side of the scoreboard.
Ok, so let's get this over with. The Surkamp third-inning implosion was brutal. It began with a 90mph fastball being taken over the wall by Carrera. It followed with a lazy curve to Donaldson who bit into it for a double. It looked like the bleeding then might stop as Surkamp got both Bautista and Encarnacion to ground out (6-3 and 5-3 respectfully). One would imagine Surkamp to be more confident, but alas it did not show. He gave up a walk to Tulowitzki; after going 3-0, the intentional walk was called. Brilliant move based on what happened next. Smoak, Pillar and Barney all singled. It wasn't until Thole (who was in for Martin scratched prior to the game) grounded out to Coghlan for the 4-3 putout. But the damage was done -- four runs scored and Khris Davis' second inning homer was a distant memory. 4-1 Jays.
In the fourth inning, Surkamp allowed Donaldson to reach base on a walk and Jose Bautista hit his #4 homer of the year to pick up two RBI's for a total of 16 to-date. And yet, Surkamp was allowed to go out in the 5th. While no runs were scored, he did give up a double down the left side by Pillar followed by a Pillar stolen base. Rzepczynski was brought in to salvage the fifth and did so by forcing Thole to flyout to center field. Rzepczynski, Dull and Rodriguez combined to strike out three, walk one and give up two more hits.
Meanwhile our bats were nothing to write home about. Hutchison, Chavez, Cecil, Storen and Osuna combined for 8 strikeouts and 3 walks. But those walks didn't help the A's manufacture a run. The A's had a total of 5 hits, one of which should have been an error on Donaldson.
There is a batting bright spot, however. All three runs scored by the A's were on long-balls. Khris Davis took it yard in the second, sending it over the center field wall. In similar fashion, Josh Reddick took it downtown in the 6th and Chris Coghlan in the 7th. But that was only 3 to the Blue Jays 6 and so the A's end the day and fall to a record of 10-9.
A couple of other thoughts: Semien looked mediocre at the plate for his first two at-bats (strikeout and a 5-3 putout); he did, however, take it to the warning track in the 7th that had A's fans holding their breath. Also in the 7th, batting Coach Darren Bush was yelling curveball to Alonso and, one could argue, help him get a piece of it that flew to deep right center. And finally, Alonso tried to steal second in the 2nd and looked pretty out of place as he somewhat slid and somewhat tumbled and rolled; after a managerial appeal by John Gibbons, the safe ruling was overturned to end the second inning.
Ok, so what's next. There's always tomorrow. It's still the start of the season and we've been looking good. We are still above .500 and the Rangers lost. So, we head to Detroit still tied for the West. Slated to pitch: Kendall Graveman (1-1) with his 2.04 ERA and 15 strikeouts against Jordan Zimmermann (3-0) with a 0.00 ERA and a matching 15 strikeouts.