Well, they made it close, getting the tying run to second in the ninth, but the A’s lost the series opener in Seattle, losing to the Mariners 7-6 on a cold Monday night.
Oakland collected 12 hits and a pair of walks on their way to six runs, but the rookie starting pitcher, who had been pretty good in his first few starts, coughed up more, allowing seven. They’ve now lost to the Mariners 13 straight times, tying a record for most consecutive losses against one team in A’s history. At least the bullpen didn’t give up a run.
After both starting pitchers traded a pair of zero’s to start this game, the bats got going. Seattle struck first on a Julio Rodriguez 3-run shot on a slider that didn’t slide to give the Mariners the lead in the bottom of the third against A’s starter Zach Logue. That was the first of three home runs against the rookie tonight.
There was no shutdown inning for the M’s as Chad Pinder absolutely belted a leadoff home run the next inning that made it to the second deck in left field to get the A’s on the board:
Oakland wasn’t done there, A 1-out double by Sean Murphy and single by Christian Bethancourt put runners on the corners for third baseman Kevin Smith. After fouling off seven balls in an 11-pitch at-bat, Smith finally got a hold of one and brought home the second run on a sacrifice fly:
A great 11-pitch AB led to this sac fly for Kevin Smith ⌛️ pic.twitter.com/yOZfEknXUC— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 24, 2022
An Elvis Andrus single set up a runners on the corners situation again for the A’s, but this time with two down. Up to the plate came Tony Kemp:
A's tied it up with a 3-run rally and a little bit of help from the BABIP gods pic.twitter.com/HA5ydDJO4W— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 24, 2022
That little flare helped the A’s erase the early 3-run hole they were in. After a tough start, it felt like a brand new game.
Until the bottom half of the inning, that is. After a strikeout and walk, and facing a slumping Cal Raleigh, Logue again threw a pitch that should have been lower, with Raleigh pulling a 2-run shot down the left field line to give the M’s the lead right back.
Another 2-run shot in the next inning, this one off the bat of Eugenio Suarez, and then a loud flyout to the warning track forced Mark Kotsay’s hand and ended the rookie Logue’s day without making it through five innings.
- Zach Logue: 4 2⁄3 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 BB, 6 K, 97 pitches
This is easily the worst start of his young career, allowing hard contact all night while not demonstrating the control he showed off in his previous three starts. And it shows on the box score, with Logue allowing more runs than hits. You don’t see that too often. Righty Domingo Acevedo came on in relief and struck out the final hitter of the inning.
Then it was Oakland’s turn to score some runs again. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases for Kemp, who did exactly the same thing earlier in the game: he flared an RBI single to cut into the deficit:
Tony Kemp comes up clutch again pic.twitter.com/vss6OqXXlc— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 24, 2022
With the bases still loaded and only one out, the A’s needed to cash in some more here, at least one run. Cristian Pache came up to the plate and did more than that:
Pache punches it to left and drives in two runs pic.twitter.com/g841pHOFGm— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) May 24, 2022
That 2-run double by Pache cut the M’s lead to just one and finally chased Seattle starter Marco Gonzalez from the game. Former Oakland A Sergio Romo relieved Gonzalez and induced a foul pop up from Sheldon Neuse. The ball looked like it hit the net as the Seattle first baseman caught the ball, and the A’s challenged the call, but officials upheld the play.
Kotsay: “Play of the game was the foul ball into the (net) that France made a nice play on. We had second and there with one out and it would have been nice to see Neuse get another shot. It was a great play by France.”
Romo walked another Athletic before getting out of the inning and ending the A’s rally.
Down a run with the top of the Mariners’ lineup coming up in the next inning, Kotsay turned to left-hander A.J. Puk to start the bottom of the sixth. It started well enough with a strikeout, but a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases and threatened to give the Mariners an insurance run or two. With the right-handed Rodriguez up, and having already hit a home run tonight, Kotsay again turned to the ‘pen, this time bringing in Lou Trivino. Without the high pressure of late game situations, Trivino has been thriving, and he got the swinging strikeout here to keep the team in this one:
Huge K by Lou Trivino to get out of the bases-loaded jam pic.twitter.com/cHradaHZmL— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 24, 2022
His day was done after one batter, with Kotsay bringing in Sam Moll for the start of the eighth. He pitched a perfect inning, racking up a strikeout along the way.
Oakland’s offense went cold against the rest of the Seattle bullpen, getting a single in the seventh immediately wiped out on a double play and striking out in all three plate appearances in the eighth.
The ninth did see an Oakland threat thanks to a 2-out Jed Lowrie single. With Ramon Laureano pinch-running, a passed ball put the tying run in scoring position. A single by Murphy would have tied this one. It wasn’t meant to be in this one, though, as the catcher grounded out weakly to second to end the game.
So, the A’s are on another losing streak, this one now at three. The trio of home runs surrendered by Logue ended up dooming Oakland in the end, with all seven Seattle runs coming on home runs. The lefty had only given up a pair before tonight, and his ERA more than doubled thanks to the long balls.
The offense showed fight tonight, working a pair of rallies to score three times in each the fourth and sixth innings. The six runs are the most in almost two weeks; it’s disappointing to waste an offensive showing like this.
The bullpen continues to pull its weight, tossing 3 1⁄3 shutout innings today after the starter couldn’t make it through five. What was once thought to be the weakness of the team has turned out to be one of its biggest strengths. Oakland has found some pieces that look like they’ll be around for a while.
Oakland will turn to right-hander James Kaprielian to turn things around for the A’s tomorrow night, same time and same place and set to face off against one of the M’s top prospects in George Kirby. Let’s hope Kap has a better time against the Seattle lineup than Logue did.