The Oakland A’s simply can’t hold a lead anymore.
On Tuesday they scored the first six runs of the game, but blew the advantage and lost 10-7 to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. This was Oakland’s ninth blown save in the past 21 games, and the second time this month that they’ve blown a six-run lead and gone on to lose, plus the second time in the past three games that they’ve led by at least four and let it slip away.
The A’s jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead by the 3rd inning, and they had their own hottest pitcher on the mound in Frankie Montas. But Montas got hit uncharacteristically hard, and he was pulled in the 4th with four runs on his record. That was still enough for a lead, and Oakland added one more in 5th to make it 7-4, but in the bottom of the 6th their bullpen served up four runs to put Kansas City on top, followed by two more insurance runs in the 7th.
At least the A’s lineup is still playing well. It took only three batters into the game for them to score their first run — a walk by Josh Harrison, a double by Starling Marte, and a sac fly by Matt Olson. The next batter drove in a second run, as Jed Lowrie hit another sac fly.
In the 2nd, Oakland’s first three batters walked to load the bases. Elvis Andrus singled home one of them with a sharp liner up the middle, and Harrison followed with another single to bring home two more.
A’s knock out the starter in the 2nd inning pic.twitter.com/8FjsmrB9In— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 15, 2021
At this point the A’s had scored five runs and there was still nobody out in the 2nd. The Royals called on their bullpen.
Oakland found the plate again in the 3rd. Mark Canha led off with a double, then moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on another wild pitch.
Salvador Perez aint havin these balls in the dirt pic.twitter.com/KOM6wnPUNq— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) September 15, 2021
Now it was 6-0, seemingly plenty of support for Montas and the pitching staff.
Nope. Montas had a rare off-night, and the bullpen had an all-too-familiar meltdown.
Kansas City put together a long rally in the 3rd, scoring three runs on four hits and an RBI groundout. A solo homer in the 4th drew them another run closer, and then after a pair of rocket singles, Montas was lifted.
- Montas: 3⅓ ip, 4 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 8 hits, 64 pitches, 92.1 mph EV
That’s his second-shortest outing of the season, and only the third time all year he hasn’t made it through five innings. He’d been quality in 10 of his previous 11 starts.
The bullpen held on for a little while. Deolis Guerra got out of the jam he’d inherited from Montas, and then tossed one more scoreless inning, continuing his quietly effective season. Meanwhile, Oakland put another run on the board thanks to an RBI double by Andrus, his third piece of hard contact tonight. They still led 7-4.
But in the 6th the A’s completed their collapse. Yusmeiro Petit allowed three straight singles to score a run, and then Salvador Perez blasted a three-run homer, his 43rd dinger of the summer. In the blink of an eye, the Royals had taken the lead.
Kansas City padded that advantage in the 7th with another homer. Sergio Romo allowed a two-run blast to Kyle Isbel, the first of Isbel’s MLB career.
Oakland’s offense had one more chance to make a comeback in the top of the 9th. Their first two batters walked, bringing the tying run to the plate with nobody out, but then they promptly hit into a double play. The Royals bullpen threw eight innings of relief in total, allowing just two runs, and at one point they retired 10 straight A’s batters.
Nine blown saves in 21 games, resulting in seven extra losses. Not gonna climb back into the postseason race if they continue doing that, especially against sub-.500 opponents.
That game smelled like 2014— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) September 15, 2021