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Game #128: A’s lose by one run, again

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New day, same story

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night was the same game we’ve been watching for the last two months. The Oakland A’s were right there but fell just barely short of a victory.

This time it was a 7-6 loss to the New York Yankees, opening a pivotal four-game series at the Coliseum. The Yankees scored the first six runs, then Oakland battled back to tie it, but New York found the plate once more in the 9th inning.

*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***

Since mid-June the A’s are 6-16 in one-run games. That stretch began at Yankees Stadium two months ago, with the infamous triple-play game, and since then Oakland has gone 26-30. Most recently they’ve lost five games in a row, and four of those defeats included either a blown save and/or a one-run margin.

New York jumped all over starter James Kaprielian. In the 2nd they blasted two solo homers, and in the 3rd they put together a rally and capped it with a three-run homer. But he hung tough to complete five innings, while his teammates powered their way back into the game.

  • Kaprielian: 5 ip, 6 runs, 8 Ks, 1 BB, 3 HR, 6 hits, 99 pitches, 96.6 mph EV

Notably, the right-hander struck out his first four batters of the game, and five of the first six, albeit with enough help from the umpire that Yankees manager Aaron Boone got ejected in the 2nd inning.

New York’s scoring barrage put them ahead 6-0, but the A’s answered back.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Matt Chapman led off with a solo homer.

The next batter, Sean Murphy, made it back-to-back with a long ball of his own.

In the 4th the A’s rallied to load the bases. They’ve struggled in that situation all year, but this time they cashed in, as Chapman drew a walk to force in a run and Elvis Andrus poked a single up the middle to plate two more. Click here for a montage of the whole rally.

Oakland was one run away from tying the game, and they got it in the 5th, on a solo homer by Josh Harrison.

The comeback was complete! Now they just needed to do one more good thing to push into the lead. But in the 6th they stranded a leadoff single, and in the 7th they went down in order, and in the 8th they stranded a two-out walk, and in the 9th Starling Marte singled and stole second but they couldn’t get him home.

Meanwhile, Oakland’s bullpen made it until two outs in the 9th before allowing a run. Yusmeiro Petit pitched the 6th, Andrew Chafin breezed through the 7th, and Sergio Romo loaded the bases in the 8th but got out of it. Lou Trivino came in for the 9th and got the first two outs, but then he walked a batter. The pinch-runner stole and the catcher Murphy made a bad throw, sending the runner to third, and then a bloop single drove him home.

That run turned out to be the difference in the game.

Oakland’s offense averaged 2.7 runs over their previous 10 contests, never scoring more than five at a time. Tonight they scored six! But they needed seven or eight. Their bullpen needed four scoreless to take it to extras, and they delivered 3⅔ instead. A catcher with a great arm made just his third throwing error of the year, at the worst moment. And so goes this 2021 season.

Tailspin continues

The A’s have lost nine of 11, and they’re now 2.5 games out of the Second Wild Card. There’s still a month to go, but they’re headed in the wrong direction and they’ll need to snap this skid soon if they want to climb back into the postseason race.