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Game #57: Wright shuts down A’s in 3-2 loss

Early runs were not a sign of things to come

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland continued their losing streak today, falling 3-2 to the Atlanta Braves to push the losing streak to seven games.

The bats got to the Atlanta starter early, scoring a pair in the first, but absolutely nothing after that. If it weren’t for the first inning, this would be among the worst performances from the lineup this year, and that’s saying something. At least the pitching was solid, only throwing three pitches that cost them runs. That was enough to doom Oakland in this one.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

The A’s struck first today, going up 2-0 just three batters into the game thanks to a trio of singles capped by Ramon Laureano:

The early runs were especially important as Braves starter Kyle Wright has been one of the best pitchers in the league, He got a pop out and double play to end the inning.

Atlanta didn’t wait around to cut into the lead, as leadoff man Ronald Acuna Jr. lead off the bottom of the first with a solo shot off today’s starter Cole Irvin. He gave up another hit to Matt Olson but also struck out a pair, including one to end the inning.

The next seven innings were quiet against Wright for the Oakland offense. The A’s could only manage a pair of singles from Sean Murphy and Chad Pinder, wasting Pinder getting to second in the fourth. They also struck out seven times without a walk, so Wright was settled in after getting tagged early, retiring 14 straight to finish his night.

The Braves got to Irvin again game thanks to, you guessed it, Acuna Jr. Another leadoff home run by the Atlanta superstar was a no-doubter to center field that tied this game at 2-2 in the third. The A’s lefty limited the damage from there, getting a fly out and another pair of strikeouts, including ending the inning by getting Olson on a foul tip.

The Braves threatened again in the fourth, getting a 2-out single and walk before Irvin induced a fly out to end the inning. A strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out also helped Irvin get out of the fifth, with a nice throw from Murphy nailing the Braves runner at second.

Things didn’t go as well for Irvin in the sixth. A 1-out double by Ozzie Albies in the bottom of the sixth put the go-ahead run in position, and since there were three straight right-handers coming up, manager Mark Kotsay turned to the bullpen and ended Irvin’s day, with Domingo Acevedo coming on in relief.

  • Cole Irvin: 5 13 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 83 pitches

Another solid start from Irvin. If it weren’t for the two pitches to Acuna Jr. that left the yard, Irvin would have had a terrific day against a Braves lineup that’s been slightly underperforming but still chock full of dangerous hitters. He is now the owner of a flat 3.00 ERA and continues an above-average season from the lefty.

With the righty-on-righty matchup favoring the A’s, Acevedo had a big moment in this one, getting a pop out and strikeout to end the inning and keep this game tied.

Another righty replaced Acevedo, with Lou Trivino coming on to start the bottom of the seventh. Trivino has had his struggles this year to say the least, especially in close games, but at least he’s mostly kept the ball in the yard, only giving up one home run during the season-opening series in Philadelphia. On the first pitch to the 8th place hitter, he served up his second, a go-ahead bomb to Guillermo Heredia, who was a last-minute addition to the lineup, giving the Braves the lead on a no-doubter into the left field stands. He allowed a 2-out single before striking out Austin Riley to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Zach Jackson had the bottom of the eighth and faced the heart of the Atlanta lineup. That didn’t matter to him, as he struck out the side, getting two swinging.

With Wright at 105 pitches through eight, the Braves finally went to the bullpen. Anything other than Wright would be better, right?

Wrong. Atlanta offseason addition Kenley Janson came on to close out the win and got a 1-2-3 ninth, including a strike out to end the game. Le sigh.

The A’s are on a big losing streak right now and have lost nine of their last 10 games. The pitching was there again today as Irvin only had a couple pitches he’d like back to a superstar, and at least he wasn’t saddled with a loss. The early offense was fun, but again the lineup just cannot get into any sort of groove, struggling to find a rhythm from one day to the next. That doesn’t

Oakland will finish this quick 2-game series tomorrow night, same time, same place. The A’s will actually be having an MLB debut tomorrow, as left-hander Jared Koenig gets the start for his first career MLB appearance. That sounds like a great time to get a win and break a losing streak, right?

Notes:

  • New addition Matt Davidson struck out in all three of his at-bats tonight, not making the best first impression.
  • Catcher Sean Murphy, who was dropped to the eighth spot today, went 1-for-3 and put good swings on the ball in his other two at-bats. Less pressure looks like it helped, at least today.
  • After a slow start upon returning from his suspension, Ramon Laureano now has an 11-game hit streak. Too bad it hasn’t rubbed off on any of the other hitters.
  • Righty Zach Jackson was dirty in his appearance, striking out the side, and now has two perfect appearances since his epic 4-walk, no outs performance last week.
  • Another catcher returned to the club today, but Stephen Vogt didn’t get into tonight’s game. Maybe tomorrow?