Khris Davis has the power, as demonstrated by his two-home run game. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to win a tight one-run ballgame against the Mariners on Monday. Kendall Graveman looked promising through the first few innings; although it was the heart of Seattle's order that triumphed over the A's -- en route to a 4-3 loss for Oakland.
After a disappointing start against the Tigers last Monday, Graveman immediately found himself in hot water -- concluding a free pass to the lead-off hitting Norichika Aoki, followed by a bloop-single to center just two batter's later thanks to Nelson Cruz. With runners on first and second with two away, Adam Lind managed to scorch a 3-2 cutter to right-field; luckily for the Athletics, Josh Reddick ranged to his right and somehow snagged the sinking liner -- with a Spiderman catch, feet away from his decal bobble head promotion in the outfield. Had the ball found a hole, chances are both runs would've scored easily.
Like Graveman, south paw Nathan Karns looked to rebound since his last meeting with the Athletics in Seattle; and he did just that -- by quickly retiring Billy Burns, Coco Crisp and Reddick to lead-off the top of the first. Graveman responded with a 1-2-3 inning in the second, as Kyle Seager began the frame by lining a sharp single to the right side of the infield -- although Marcus Semien (playing the shift) gulped up the ball at second base, for a routine 6-3 out on the scorecard. Chris Ianetta managed to work a full-count against Oakland's right-hander, but appeared absolutely dumbfounded when a sweeping-cutter rung him up for the second out of the frame, before Ketel Marte hit a weak ground ball to end the inning.
Khris Davis got the A's offense rolling in the bottom of the second, as he connected on a hanging knuckle-curve ball and respectably deposited it over the left-field fence. It was a no-doubter; and it's truly refreshing to see Davis heat-up, especially after enduring a slow start through the first two weeks of the season. Stephen Vogt followed with a bunt-single down the third-base line, and promptly set the stage for Chris Coghlan who smoked a single up the middle, but somehow found the glove of Marte behind the second base bag (in the shift) and quickly doubled off Vogt --
to kill the mood to end the inning.
As soon as Marte made the catch, I honestly believed that the momentum shifted to Seattle; although Graveman responded by mowing down the Mariners -- with three consecutive punchouts to retire the side.
The top of the fourth wasn't very kind to Graveman. To the naked eye, you could visibly see the 25-year-old leaving the ball up in the strike zone and Cano capitalized -- when he lead-off the inning with a first-pitch single to centerfield. Cruz and Lind joined the party by slapping back-to-back singles around the shift, and before you know it, the game was knotted at one apiece. The inning
should could have been worse; however thanks to a running miscue from Cruz, he was promptly thrown out at third-base to end the fourth after Ianetta hit a lazy fly-ball to Billy Burns.
Lets fast-forward to the top of the sixth, where both pitchers seemingly held their opposing offenses' at bay. Once again, Graveman was face-to-face with Seattle's heart of the order; where Cano and Cruz did not disappoint with back-to-back singles to start the frame. Luckily for the A's, Oakland's defense managed to bail out their starter with a much-needed 6-3 double play -- once again, thanks to the shift.
Unfortunately, Seager and Ianetta "beared down" when it mattered and jumped on Graveman by scorching an RBI double and single to right field, before Marte grounded out to first base; increasing Seattle's lead by a pair.
After Graveman surrendered a double to Aoki in the seventh, the left-hander without hesitation stole third base and came around to score when Vogt's throw to Mark Canha aimlessly found its way down the left-field line -- something that would eventually come back to bite the A's as we reached the seventh-inning stretch.
For the 2015 Oakland Athletics, a 4-1 deficit would have been a guaranteed loss for the green and gold -- surprisingly enough, the 2016 A's are a whole new brand of baseball -- as Reddick snared an opposite-field single off Karns to begin the frame, and Davis followed with a TOWERING home run to center field to cut the M's lead down to one. Not only was that Davis' second round-tripper of the contest; but it was the seventh time in his career that he's done so -- thus reinvigorating the A's dugout, heading into the eighth.
Sean Doolittle powered past Lind, Seager and Ianetta in the top-half; as did Joel Peralta in the bottom half. Fernando Rodriguez kept the ball rolling for the Athletics with a scoreless frame of his own, setting the table for a ninth-inning comeback against Mariners' closer Steve Cishek.
After Reddick lined out to first to begin the frame, and Davis went down swinging after working a 3-2 count against Cishek -- the game appeared all but over once Vogt struck out swinging. However the ball trickled passed Ianetta, reaching the backstop and Vogt scurried past the bag just in time to keep the inning alive! With two-away and the pinch-runner Tyler Ladendorf on first, Coghlan worked a nail-biting free pass, after several questionable strike three calls -- for the pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie. Lowrie battled back for as long as he could, but it ultimately wasn't enough as a 91 MPH sinker proved to be too much for the ailing veteran -- as he K'd to end the contest.
At least the A's are 5-5 in one-run games, right?!
Garfield hates Monday's and apparently so do the Oakland A's. The ball club is 0-4; and I've covered three of them...— Casey Witt (@CaseyWitt_) May 3, 2016