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Game #13: A’s bats fall silent in 1-0 loss to O’s

At least the pitching was top notch again

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

You won’t win them all, but the A’s lost a frustrating one today, losing 1-0 to the Baltimore Orioles in the third game of the series.

The bats were as cold as the weather today, collecting just six singles, a double, and a walk while striking out 11 times. The pitching top to bottom was excellent again, though, allowing just one unearned run and keeping the A’s in it until the end.

*** Click here for today’s Game Thread! ***

Things got started fast when Baltimore put their leadoff man on to start the game thanks to a Daulton Jefferies plunk job, but a perfect throw from today’s catcher Christian Bethancourt nailed a stealing Cedric Mullins:

A good thing, too, since the next hitter smacked a double that would have put Oakland behind early. It took him a minute, but Jefferies locked in and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The A’s went down 1-2-3 in the first inning, but a leadoff single by Billy McKinney in the second brought up Seth Brown, who pulled a double into right field. McKinney tried to score from first and was initially called safe at home by the umpire, but a replay review went the Orioles’ way and the call was overturned, wiping away the run for the A’s. Two more outs ended the inning.

Baltimore put their leadoff man on in the top of the third and the Orioles almost had a rally, but an impressive play by Tony Kemp stopped it dead in its tracks:

For the offense, it took a couple more innings to get going again. The fourth saw a Sean Murphy hit by a pitch and a Bethancourt single put a runner in scoring position. but a nice play by the Baltimore third baseman to dive and tag Murphy trying for third ended the threat.

Then the fifth happened. After a leadoff double by Orioles left fielder Ryan McKenna put a runner in scoring position, Jefferies needed a groundball. He got it on his next pitch, getting a grounder to Elvis Andrus, but the shortstop saw it go right under his glove on a play he’ll make more times than not, allowing the runner to come around and score. Jefferies got the next three batters out on more weak contact.

Oakland tried to match the Orioles with a run of their own, getting a couple two-out singles by Kemp and Sheldon Neuse in the bottom half of the frame and bringing up Sean Murphy. The A’s couldn’t prevent the shutdown inning, though, with today’s DH striking out looking.

Jefferies went back out for the 6th and got a clean inning, his last of the day.

  • Daulton Jefferies: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 unearned run, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 5 K, 83 pitches

Another solid outing from the right-hander today with a season-high and career-high six innings of what should have been shutout baseball. Jefferies lowered his season ERA to 1.17 after today and continues to provide the A’s with quality and quantity every fifth day.

The bullpen shut down the Orioles the rest of the way, as A.J. Puk, Jake Lemoine, and Adam Kolarek all pitched shutout appearances.

The A’s had a major league debut in the sixth! With Baltimore replacing starter Jordan Lyles with lefty Paul Fry, manager Mark Kotsay turned to his bench and pinch hit McKinney with Christian Lopes, his first major-league at-bat. He lined out to center field, but still an exciting day for someone who has been playing in the minors for a decade.

There was an injury scare in the top of the eighth inning. With Oakland on defense, Mullins ran into first baseman Stephen Vogt after hitting a groundball to short. Vogt was able to walk off the field under his own power, but replays showed a tough collision to his lower leg, with Kotsay confirming during the post-game that Vogt had suffered a knee sprain. Don’t expect to see him for the next few days, although he might need the break considering his struggles with the bat to start the year.

The bottom of the eight saw Oakland’s best and final chance to tie this baby up. The A’s led things off with back-to-back singles by Kemp and Neuse (yes, again), but back-to-back strikeouts by Murphy and Lopes followed by a Brown flyout ended the inning with nothing to show for it.

The A’s went go down quietly in the ninth, but of note, the final batter today was outfielder Mickey McDonald, recently recalled from Triple-A and making his MLB debut. He struck out swinging on three pitches to end the game, but again, always cool to see someone reach their dream.

A tough loss considering Oakland had chances against Baltimore today. but this young team needs to learn how to sweep games like this under the rug and prepare for the next one. On the bright side, the starting pitching was superb, the bullpen was lights out again, and a couple of the new guys got their first taste of MLB action. Congrats, Christian and Mickey!

Oakland will send out Paul Blackburn tomorrow afternoon to try to win the series, with first pitch is set for 12:37.