The Oakland A’s still can’t solve the Seattle Mariners.
The A’s lost to the Mariners on Tuesday for the 10th time in 14 tries this season. Tonight it was a 5-2 defeat in which Oakland went hitless with runners in scoring position, the second straight evening they’ve gone quietly against Seattle at the Coliseum.
*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***
The knockout punch came in the 4th inning. With the score tied 1-1, A’s starter Paul Blackburn allowed a leadoff triple and came one strike away from stranding it. Instead, a walk, another triple, and a single pushed across three runs to give the Mariners a lead they never relinquished.
- Blackburn: 4 ip, 4 runs (3 earned), 5 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits, 83 pitches, 89.4 mph
The first run was even more frustrating. In the 2nd inning, Blackburn had runners on the corners with two out and two strikes on the batter, and he skipped a pickoff throw past first base. That scored the man from third with an unearned run, and two pitches later the batter struck out to end the frame.
Oakland’s bullpen held on for five innings with only one more run, but like last night, the comeback never materialized. Sam Moll was particularly impressive, tossing two scoreless while striking out three and picking off one of his two baserunners. Sergio Romo allowed a solo homer in the 9th to give Seattle an extra insurance run.
On offense, the A’s made some hard contact but weren’t able to string together any rallies. A pair of two-out singles in the 4th inning were followed by a loud groundout, and doubles in each of the 8th and 9th were stranded too, totaling 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Their only runs came on a couple homers, but nobody was on base for either of them, once in the 1st inning and again leading off the 4th.
The first dinger was by Matt Olson, which briefly gave Oakland a lead before Seattle tied it with their unearned run off Blackburn. Olson set a new career-high with his 37th long ball of the season, and it’s also the fourth time this year he’s gone deep against Mariners starter Marco Gonzales.
Matt Olson doing Matt Olson things. @mattolson21 | #RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/yudWv9HEx2— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 22, 2021
It was Olson’s MLB-leading 21st homer off lefty pitchers this summer, which puts him in rare historic company.
Left-handed batters with 21 HR in a season vs LHP:— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 22, 2021
Matt Olson (2021)
Barry Bonds (2002)
Ken Griffey Jr. (1996 & 98) pic.twitter.com/F4adIFrwIa
After Seattle took their lead in the top of the 4th, Starling Marte answered with a solo shot in the bottom half.
Do your thing, @Starlingmart pic.twitter.com/pGnQqUt7wg— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 22, 2021
Overall, the game was similar to last night. The Mariners pulled ahead in the early innings, while their lefty starter and their bullpen kept the A’s lineup under control.
Oakland needed to figure out Seattle this week, but it’s not happening so far. All the other Wild Card teams won tonight, so the A’s lost ground and are now three games out of the Second Wild Card with 11 to play, and the Mariners have caught them in the standings with identical records. It’s still not mathematically over, but they’re heading in the wrong direction and any remaining hope gets slimmer by the day.
So...there’s a Rally Goose here. The owner of the costume is Dave Tighe. His friend, Mike Yama, is wearing it tonight. Tighe began renting the costume for Bay to Breakers ~20 years ago and eventually bought it. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/BCZDxPR2Lt— Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) September 22, 2021