The past couple weeks have been a performance only a mother could love.
The Oakland A’s lost their ninth straight game on Sunday, this time 4-3 to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The defeat wraps up their third straight series in which they were swept by the opponent.
On the bright side, the A’s scored a few runs this afternoon! That’s progress, after totaling one run on 11 hits in their previous three games combined, and averaging 2.6 runs per contest during the losing streak. They even held a brief lead today in the 3rd inning! But it wasn’t quite enough, and their bats went silent again the rest of the way.
All three losses against the Twins this weekend were by just one run apiece, and each time Oakland battled down to the final out. Once again today they put the tying run in scoring position in the 9th inning, getting him as far as third base, but the final 90 feet eluded them.
At least it wasn’t a shutout! The A’s lineup struck right away in the 1st inning, snapping a string of a dozen scoreless frames dating back to Friday.
Oakland’s first two batters of the day struck out, but Sean Murphy and Seth Brown singled, and then Chad Pinder singled to drive in Murphy. A run!
The Twins soon tied it up, but the same group of A’s hitters came through again in the 3rd. Sheldon Neuse singled, Murphy doubled him over to third, and Brown singled them both home. A 3-1 lead!
Brownie tees off on a 3-0 count to extend the lead pic.twitter.com/01jEQ8QBqj— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) May 8, 2022
To make matters worse for Minnesota, their starting pitcher exited early. Chris Paddack was pulled after Murphy’s double and diagnosed with right elbow inflammation, and Brown’s clutch hit came against a reliever.
Oakland had the lead and all the momentum, then just like that it was all gone.
Starter Daulton Jefferies retired six of his first seven batters, allowing just a softly hit double in the 2nd that worked its way around to score. But in the 3rd, just after the A’s had taken their 3-1 lead, the Twins unloaded with a bunch of hard contact, banging out four hits to push across three runs.
Suddenly Minnesota had climbed in front, and that’s the way things stayed. Jefferies navigated through two more innings, and four relievers combined to keep the Twins off the board.
- Jefferies: 5 ip, 4 runs, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 7 hits, 84 pitches
Meanwhile, Oakland’s lineup disappeared. After Brown’s single in the 3rd inning, they didn’t get another hit until the 9th, a stretch in which they went 0-for-18 with a walk. That walk was by Brown leading off the 6th inning but he was stranded, and in the 7th they reached on an error only to have the runner eliminated in a double play.
With one out in the 9th, the A’s finally made some noise. Tony Kemp pinch-walked, then Christian Bethancourt singled sharply, putting runners on first and second. A flyout moved them up to second and third, with two out. The next batter hit a soft flare to shallow center, the kind dreams are sometimes made of, but this one hung up long enough to find a glove for the third out instead of mischievously landing on the turf for a sneaky walk-off. So close, yet so far.
Just keep swimming
Not much you can say about a nine-game losing streak. The lineup has gone cold, and even the return of Ramon Laureano today didn’t help, as he took an 0-fer. Just gotta keep playing every day until it gets better, and appreciate the silver lining that they’ve been competitive in most of these defeats rather than getting blown out.
It could be worse. You could be a Reds fan— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) May 8, 2022