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Game #57: Three Errors Doom Athletics in Third Loss to the Astros, 2-5

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The Oakland Athletics struck first-blood against right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers with a soft fly single by Yonder Alonso in the first. Sonny Gray's pitching was solid, but the Athletics lose 5-2 on three errors. Loss goes to Ryan Dull.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics struck first-blood against right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers with a soft fly single by Yonder Alonso in the first.  The inning began with a Coco Crisp fly ball out to left fielder Tony Kemp.  Followed by Jed Lowrie who walked on 5 pitches, he was advanced by a Stephan Vogt single.  V for Valencia follows suit with a line-drive single to right fielder Colby Rasmus.  Bases loaded.  Khris Davis grounds into a fielder's choice as Lance McCullers threw Lowrie out at the plate.  Bases loaded and two outs.  Alonso singles and picks up two RBI's to strike first blood.  Marcus Semien then flew out to right field to end the inning and strand one.

Steady Sonny Gray takes us effortlessly, or so it appeared, through 4 innings.  In the bottom of the fifth, however, an aggressive swing by Carlos Gomez took a left-up-curve-ball into the cheap seats in left center field.  The ball exited at a speed of 104pmh for a distance of 388 feet.  In the bottom of the 5th, Athletics 2 and Astros 1.

Daniel Coulombe replaces Sonny in the 6th and gives up the tying run to Evan Gattis.  He follows with a bunt single to Valbuena and is quickly pulled by Bob Melvin and replaced by Ryan Dull.  Dull proceeds to get Tyler White out on a pop fly to Marcus Semien for out number two.

AJ Hinch, after a visit to the mound, left in Lance McCullers in the 7th despite his wild pitch and 2-0 count to Billy Butler.  With runners on 1st and 2nd, a grounder to third allows for the force out and the kid gets out of the jam, and we are left tied going into the bottom of the 7th.

Ryan Dull begins the bottom of the 7th with a walk to George Springer.   This was followed with an errant pickoff throw and error on Ryan Dull that put Springer on 2nd with no outs and Altuve takes a long sacrifice fly to advance the runner to third.  Carlos Correa hit his 9th double of the season to score Springer and bring Sean Doolittle to the mound.

Doolittle strikes out Colby Rasmus and is told to intentionally walk Evan Gattis.  Two outs with Valbuena batting who flies out to center field.  Phew.

The 8th begins with a pitching change for Houston:  Tony Sipp is in for Lance McCullers who leaves the game having pitched 7 full innings, giving up 8 hits and 2 runs (both earned) with 3 walks and 9 strikeouts and a potential win.  Sipp gives up a walk to Semien and is replaced by our former A's pitcher Pat Neshek after pinch-hitter Jake Smolinski replaced Chris Coghlan.  Appears to be a good call as Smolinski flies out to left field for the second out.  A diving catch by Jake Marisnick leads to a Billy Burns 3rd out to head to the bottom of the 8th where Rzepczynski replaces Doolittle to take the mound in for the A's—still 3-2 Astros and some hope.

Rzepczynski strikes out Tyler White on five pitches to start the bottom of the 8th.  Gomez then takes a sinker to right for a double, just over Alonso's head.  A wild pitch moves Gomez to third and he is able to score on a soft RBI grounder by Springer who is thrown out at first for the second out.  Altuve then works a walk on four outside sinkers and sliders.  Curt Young visits the mound with Correa up for Houston.  On 3-2, Correa is walked, but that wasn't the worst of it.  Rasmus reaches first and scores Marisnick on a bobbling E-1 by Rzepczynski.  Another unearned run and Houston widens the lead 5-2.  Gattis grounds to Lowrie who throws him out at first to end the bleeding in the 8th.  A's 2, Houston 5.

The 9th was uneventful as Will Harris, replaces Neshek, and leads off by sitting down Coco with a fly to center fielder Carlos Gomez.  Jed Lowrie, 0 for 3 on the day, strikes out to leave it all on Stephan Vogt's shoulders—somewhat hopeful as he was 3-4 on the day.   Alas, Vogt-er grounds out to third baseman Luis Valbuena who throws him out at first as the A's are swept in three straight games by the Houston Astros.

Losing pitcher Ryan Dull, winning pitcher Lance McCullers.  The A's end with 2 runs, 8 hits and 3 errors as the Astros close out their sweep on 5 runs, 9 hits, and 0 errors.

The Athletics have a day off tomorrow and then begin inter-league play at Miller Park in Milwaukee on Tuesday at 5:10 PST.