Another squeaker of a loss, as the Athletics could not manage a comeback in the latter half of the game. The Angels jumped ahead off of early inning hits and lucky bloops in the 5th, and despite a couple chances off of deep hits the A’s couldn’t bounce back.
Leading off the game with his usual panache, Marcus Semien started the game off with a base on balls. Chappy hit a missile up the infield but it was tagged by Fletcher to be brought in and beat out Semien to second. The A’s first attempt at offence ended shortly after, as both Olson and Canha struck out. While the top of the first went off without much to note in the box score, the A’s did work Angels pitcher Dillon Peters for 27 pitches in their first time seeing him.
The second attempt at A’s offence went about as unspectacularly as the first. Aside from Khris hitting a liner to left, all three outs came from fly balls to Kole Calhoun in right.
Homer Bailey really turned on the gas in the 2nd inning. His first inning was aided with a couple of of great defensive plays, but in the 2nd Homer earned two three-pitch strikeouts with his splitter, and only threw a single ball in his 10 pitches in the inning.
Homer ran into trouble in the 3rd, as Kaleb Cowart doubling and David Fletcher singling put men on the corners with only a single out. Homer’s command got a little shakier, similar to what it was in the 1st, with extended at bats coming from extra pitches outside. The A’s canned the jam though, with a brilliant double play to end the inning with the help of Matt Olson and Marcus Semien and their gold glove defence.
The A’s continued to inflate at bats in the 3rd and 4th, getting Peters’ pitch count into the 70’s. But more importantly after Laureano blazed down the line to steal a single off an infield hit, the A’s took a lead off of big ol’ blast by none other than Khris Davis.
In the 5th, Sheldon Neuse popped the ball into shallow left for a single, followed by Marcus singling to the exact same place. Chapman hit into the infield, moving up Neuse to third base, forcing Marcus out at second, but Chapman beat out the last throw to avoid the double play. Sadly, Olson would fly out and leave the runners on the corners stranded.
More trouble for Bailey in the 5th as Taylor Ward dropped a single in front of Pinder, then Matt Thaiss plopped a broken bat bloop into no man’s land in shallow left, that ended up as another single. A Cowart strikeout was a good start, but David Fletcher was at bat and continued his onslaught against the A’s by hitting a RBI single into centre. The bad luck continued as both Chapman and Pinder both ran in to catch a Brian Goodwin pop up, but neither was able to glove the ball and it landed between them, on the bad side of the foul line. This landed for an RBI double for Goodwin, tying the game and putting two Angels into scoring position. Pujols hit a sac fly to get the lead, and finally Calhoun flew out to end the inning. Bailey pitched through the inning well with only a bit of location trouble, but the lack of defensive outs on what seemed to be easy to catch bloop balls give the lead away, and an extended inning gave Pujols a chance to add on.
The Angels brought in Noe Ramirez for the 6th, Canha struck out, and Laureano hit a fly out to right, but the biggest disappointment came from Khris Davis tagging a hanging breaking ball, only for it to die a foot short of the fence.
Taking over the mound for the A’s is Jesus Luzardo. While he gave up a leadoff double to Smith bouncing just in the left field line, Luzardo came back to strike out Jared Walsh and Taylor Ward.
Jurickson Profar was brought in as a pinch hitter in place of Pinder, but popped out in foul territory. Murphy came close to tying the game with a deep shot to right, but like Khris’ hit in the 6th, it died just short. Bob pulled a second sub putting in Grossman in place of Neuse, getting all of one pitch that he used to fly out to left.
Bob continued swapping out players, putting in Yusmeiro Petit to pitch, giving a double to Cowart who advanced on a Fletcher fly out. Goodwin walked with a ball in the dirt, but The Machine struck out swinging. With Calhoun up Bob called on Diekman for the last out, and it was earned with a swinging strikeout.
Ty Buttrey was the Angels reliever for the 8th, and it was a quick inning as the top of the A’s order went down with two strikeouts and fly.
Soria came out for the 8th, and cleared the Angels easily, with Smith grounding out and Soria claiming a pair of strikeouts for a 1-2-3 inning.
Last chance for the A’s against Hansel Robles and Canha put in work early. Getting an infield single off of a checked swing, Robles’ foot juuuust missed the bag on the play and Canha was confirmed safe on replay review. Ramon bounced a ball up the infield, right to Fletcher, getting a troubling double play and leaving Khris Davis with the A’s last chance. Sadly, Khris swung through three pitches and ended play.
Overall, Homer Bailey had a decent 5 innings of work tonight. His final inning ended up being the difference maker and was largely due to the defence missing the two pop hits. Bailey’s best inning was the 2nd, as it was his only 1-2-3 inning. Homer was not as confident as his last start, giving up hits before the 5th inning and having some shaky command in the 1st and 3rd.
Offence slumping is troubling, but the extra disappointing thing is how close Khris and Murphy’s fly outs were from being a pair of solo shot game changers. A bit thinner air tonight and the Athletics could have been the ones with the one-run lead.
The bullpen was solid, keeping the Angels from adding on, though Luzardo and Petit both had runners in scoring position. Soria had the best outing from the pen, with a 3-up-3-down inning with a pair of Ks.
While it’s a tough loss and tightens the Wild Card chase, the difference largely comes from the couple of lucky drops the Angels managed to get past the A’s defence.
With tonight’s loss the Athletics move to 94 and 63. Tomorrow they finish the series with the Angels, as Frankie Montas makes his return to the A’s against Andrew Heaney.