The Oakland A’s lost yet again to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, by a 4-2 score at T-Mobile Park. The A’s have now dropped 11 straight matchups with the division rival Mariners this year.
If Oakland had only split their season series with Seattle, with nine wins apiece, then the green-and-gold would be in the Second Wild Card position right now, and they’d be 2.5 behind the Astros for the AL West lead with three head-to-heads remaining. Instead they’ve lost 14 of 18 against the Mariners, helping bump the A’s from the division race entirely and putting them on the verge of mathematical elimination in the Wild Card.
Tonight, the lineup never got going. They scored the first run of the game in the 4th, but Seattle quickly answered back with two of their own, plus an insurance run in the 6th. The two clubs each scored once in the 7th, but the A’s weren’t able to mount any extended comeback rallies.
Oakland’s offense was led by its usual solo homer, courtesy of Chad Pinder tonight.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before…— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 29, 2021
Other than that dinger, they scattered a few runners throughout the evening but never strung much together. The only other time they scored, the rally was sparked by reaching on a Mariners fielding error, and the lone hit in the inning was the RBI single by Tony Kemp at the end.
Kemp’s RBI single makes it a one-run game pic.twitter.com/2hDg8nlHcG— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 29, 2021
They were limited to seven hits, and they never drew a walk. Going 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position means you only got three chances in such situations all night.
On the pitching side, Chris Bassitt made his second start since returning from facial surgery, still working on a low pitch count after a long layoff. He kept the Mariners off the board for three innings despite navigating through some traffic on the bases, then he began the 4th with a strikeout and a walk before being pulled. Yusmeiro Petit entered in relief and allowed a single and a double, plating two runs including the one inherited from Bassitt.
- Bassitt: 3⅓ ip, 1 run, 1 K, 3 BB, 3 hits, 67 pitches, 89.6 mph EV
The right-hander got some help from the defense behind him. In the 1st inning, Bassitt loaded the bases with one out, but a shallow fly ball turned into a double play when the runner on third tried to tag and score. Don’t run on Seth Brown!
However, the defense gave that run back later. In the 6th, with reliever Sergio Romo on the mound, runners got to the corners with two out. A grounder went toward the hole on the left side and interim shortstop Josh Harrison made a great diving play that could have ended the inning, but his throw skipped past first base and everybody was safe, including the runner trotting home from third.
The super-sub Harrison looked like a proper shortstop there, and while the throw wasn’t perfect, it did arrive on a nice big hop that Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson scoops almost every time. Tonight Olson missed it.
In order to make this an official game between the A’s and Mariners, Mitch Haniger had to hit a homer, and he took care of that in the 7th off reliever Jake Diekman. That’s Haniger’s 38th dinger of the year, 39 of which have come against Oakland.
Put it all together, and Pinder’s homer gave the A’s an early lead, then Seattle took over against Petit and added on against Romo, but Kemp inched things closer with his RBI single to bring it back within one run, before Haniger went yard to cap the day’s scoring.
Oakland is 81-59 against the rest of the majors, which is a 94-win pace. But factor in the 4-14 they’ve posted against Seattle, and they’re going to miss the playoffs and finish in third place. Didn’t see that one coming.
Chris Bassitt: "Going into this year, I don't know how many people on either team would have said the Mariners are better than us. But the game is proving otherwise."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) September 29, 2021