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Game #140: A’s Falter Late, Lose 5-1

Despite the loss, bullpen day was more successful than the last time out.

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

***Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread***

The A’s grabbed an early lead but were unable to add on, and ultimately, unable to hold on. Bullpen day worked reasonably well — the A’s faced the minimum through six — but the bats fell silent and our usually reliable late-inning aces gave up a bunch of late-inning runs.

Liam Hendriks opened and breezed through the first, retiring the side on 11 pitches. Daniel Mengden started the second, and didn’t give the ball back to Bob Melvin until there were two outs in the sixth. In his 4.2 innings of work, Mengden allowed one hit and no walks, striking out three.

The offensive action in the game’s early stages was provided by Oakland’s hottest hitter.

I can also highlight Oakland’s other hit. Yes, there was only one— a single off Matt Chapman’s bat to lead off the seventh inning. Following Chapman’s single, Jed Lowrie struck out, but Khris Davis walked, putting runners on first and second with one out. If the A’s were going to put more runs on the board, this was a good opportunity. But we went down without so much as a whimper; Piscotty and Matt Olson both struck out.

Signs that Tuesday was not going to be the A’s night actually began a half inning earlier. A pair of singles followed by a pair of walks put a run on the board for the Yankees and loaded the bases without an out. Ryan Buchter, who got the last out of the sixth, gave up the first single, but the aforementioned seventh inning damage was done mostly on Jeurys Familia’s line. However, in line with his A’s career to this point, despite taking the team to the brink of a crooked number, Familia righted the ship, striking out Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez, and induced an inning-ending, Neil Walker pop out.

In the eighth, the wheels, which had wobbled in the seventh, finally began to fall off. Cardinals-reject-turned-Athletics-killer Luke Voit hit another mammoth shot off Fernando Rodney. Rodney threw a change up that couldn’t have floated more over the middle of the plate. Voit was almost a victim of his own eagerness, but stayed back just long enough to deposit the ball in the bleachers about ten yards to the right of the left field foul pole.

The Yanks also posted a two spot in the ninth. Defensive replacement Adeiny Hechavarria hit an unexpected home run, running the lead to three. And with two on and two out, Matt Olson was unable to corral a ground ball that pulled him deep into the 3-4 hole (the ball hit his glove, but the play went as a hit), which gave New York its final run.

Dellin Betances pitched a baserunner-less ninth, and the A’s dropped the series’ second game. Despite not getting a hit until the sixth inning, the Yankees wound up with eight. Worse, with Houston’s victory, Oakland falls to 3.5 game back in the AL West. But the A’s still have a chance to win the series tomorrow evening. Mike Fiers gets the start against Luis Severino. Time to wake up the bats.