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Game #44: Mariner Homers Keep The A’s At Bay

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics were unable to match the Mariners’ batting power today, as they fell 4-3 in a close game in Seattle.

Brett Anderson and Mike Leake are both pitchers who work quickly, and that was definitely put on display today. The first inning was hitless and was completed in less than 10 minutes, that includes the 2 minute commercial break between sides. After an hour of play, the game was almost halfway done, being partway through the top of the 5th. From the 5th onward, things got a bit slower paced, both offences started taking off and while the starters both pitched quickly the same can not be said about most relievers. While the pitching was speedily delivered, there were a few balls just as quickly returned, as Mariner homers in the 2nd and 5th were the difference makers tonight.

***Revisit Game Thread 1 | Game Thread 2 ***

Brett Anderson and the Seattle Mariners

In the second inning, just as Glen and Ray started talking about the fact that Brett Anderson had only given up one home run prior to this game, Daniel Vogelbach decided to change that. Vogelbach hit the ball 109mph off the bat as it lasered into the right field seats. A couple batters later, Tim Beckham decided to join in and hit the second Mariners solo shot of the inning. Anderson got out of the inning shortly after, but giving up 2 dingers in an inning after giving up only 1 in the last 43 pitched is not a good start to things.

While Anderson was facing Vogelbach for the second time in the game, Domingo Santana (who had singled prior) tried to steal first base, but Josh Phegley had an excellent pick, getting the ball in Profar’s glove before Santana was even sliding.

Anderson settled down after the 2nd, earning 3 strikeouts and giving up a singles in the 3rd and 4th.

But in the 5th inning Anderson walked J.P. Crawford, then that was followed up by a towering no doubter by Mitch Haniger to bring the M’s back into the lead.

Anderson came back with a strong 1-2-3 6th inning, but that’s all he would through, as he was relieved by Hendricks in the 7th

While Brett had some strong innings, the 3 homers he gave up made the difference in what seemed to be a game where his ground ball pitching would not stay down.

The Oakland A’s At Bat

The A’s had no runners in the 1st.

Piscotty got a two out single in the 2nd, but then the inning ended with the next batter.

Semien got a two out single in the 3rd, but then the inning ended with the next batter.

The A’s had no runners in the 4th.

The A’s broke out of the pattern in the 5th giving Mike Leake his first real trouble. Ramon Laureano took a one-out walk, followed by a Grossman bloop single. Both runners moved up a base and into scoring position after a deep sac fly by Phegley, and were scored by Marcus Semien as Edwin Encarnation dropped the bouncing toss from Beckham. After getting the A’s to a tie, Semien tried to continue the heroics with a steal of second, but got caught in his slide to end the inning

The A’s had no runners in the 6th.

In the 7th Stephen Piscotty legged out a one out double, using his speed off of a pop fly to get in scoring position. Ramon Laureano had a long at bat, that resulted in a deep fly out, but not quite deep enough to advance Piscotty. The next pitch delivered by Leake would be his last, as Robbie Grossman hit an RBI single behind first base, scoring Piscotty and bringing the A’s within a run of the Mariners.

Scott Servais called for Corey Gearin to take over from the bullpen, Phegley pounded a fly single, moving Grossman to third, and then Gearin handed Semien a 4 pitch walk to load the bases. Roenis Elias was called in to take over on the mound for Seattle, and Chad Pinder was called in to take over for Jurickson Profar at the plate. Elias struck out Pinder on 3 pitches and the A’s remained behind a run.

The top of the 8th passed quickly, Chapman struck out, Davis struck out, Olson struck out. Not great. Really not great.

The A’s last chance started off with a Piscotty walk on 5 pitches. Mark Canha came in as a pinch hitter, his batted ball bounced off of Elias’ glove, then on the toss to second base the Athletics catch a major break as Dee Gordon dropped the ball on the transfer. The A’s luck ran out immediately after, as while they avoided one game ending double play, Phegley grounded into the actual game ending double play on the next pitch.

The Bullpen On Point

Hendricks came in for the 7th, and as he faced Tim Beckham, Beckham managed to drop a double by the right field foul line just like Piscotty did in the top of the inning. Dee Gordon came in to pinch run, but Hendricks struck out Murphy and got Crawford to fly out. Haniger took Hendricks for a walk after a full count, but Hendricks got a second strike out against Santana to complete a solid inning of work.

Liam was back to start the bottom of the 8th, induced a quick infield fly out, and ended his night with 1.1 pitched as Ryan Buchter came into the game.

Buchter started his outing off with a Vogelbach strike out. Ryon Healy took his full count against Buchter the other way and worked a walk. This brought up another left handed hitter, Jay Bruce. Buchter K’d Bruce, and it was Jay Bruce’s 4th strikeout of the game that ended the 8th.

Both A’s relievers that pitched today worked well and looked strong on the mound. Hendricks seemed in control for the 7th, and Buchter was his dominant self against lefties.

The A’s had zero production from the heart of the order today, the 2, 3, 4, and 5 hitters went 0-for-16 with 9 strikeouts. Following Piscotty in the lineup was a much more productive set of batters, amounting for the A’s 6 hits and an additional 3 walks. This could have been a completely different ball game had Chapman, Davis, and Olson be able to contribute to the batting order, but the Mariners were able to muscle their way past the A’s and pick up a 2 game sweep.

This loss moves the Oakland Athletics to 19-24, as the A’s 20th win stays elusive. The green and gold have an off day tomorrow, before hitting Detroit on Thursday to continue the road trip. Chris Bassitt is scheduled to start the day game, and the Tigers have yet to announce their starter.