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Game #58: A’s get crushed by Braves 13-2

At least the rookie starter was alright

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland extended their losing streak to eighth tonight, getting crushed by the Atlanta Braves 13-2 in the series finale. That’s three sweeps in a row.

The A’s cobbled together a pair of runs on eight hits, and the starting pitcher making his MLB debut was solid, pitching into the fifth inning. The bullpen completely imploded, though, surrendering nine runs tonight in just three innings of work. At least this series was quick.

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

After the A’s went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, it was debut time for left-handed starter Jared Koenig. He got a tough test facing Ronald Acuña Jr. and on his second career pitch, allowed a single to the Atlanta outfielder. A nice throw by Sean Murphy and nice catch from Tony Kemp nailed him trying to steal second, though:

Luckily neither player got hurt on the collision. Koenig then got a pair of groundouts to finish his first inning.

The offense, meanwhile got a hit in each of the next two innings, including Matt Davidson’s first with the A’s, but couldn’t do anything with them, stranding them both.

Koenig was stranding some of his own hitters, too. A leadoff double by old friend Matt Olson lead off the second and moved to third on a groundout but was stranded, with Koenig getting a big strikeout with a runner on third and less than two out. So, the perfect time to get your first career K.

The A’s were the first team to score tonight after Ramon Laureano swatted a ball off the right field for a double but got to move to third after an Acuña error. A wild pitch by Braves starter Ian Anderson allowed Laureano to come in to score standing.

They weren’t done there, though. A Stephen Vogt walk and a pair of 2-out singles brought him in, with Sean Murphy flaring a ball to center to give the A’s a 2-0 lead. Watch the rally below:

After being held down by Koenig for the first three innings, the Braves finally got to him in the fourth with a leadoff double, a walk, and a pair of sac flies. He did well to limit the damage, though, striking out the last batter to end the threat and limit the damage to one.

The wheels fell off the next inning, however. A walk, double, and triple to open the fifth, suddenly giving Atlanta a one-run lead and ended Koenig’s day, who was still responsible for the runner at third.

  • Jared Koenig: 4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 pitches

It ended on a sour note, but considering it was his first appearance in The Show, not too bad of an introduction to the Majors. Manager Mark Kotsay offered his thoughts on Koenig’s first start after the game:

Righty Domingo Acevedo came on in relief for his league-leading 27th appearance with a runner at third and no outs. He almost pulled off a magic trick, getting a ground ball to third that froze the runner and a strikeout for the second out. He was one pitch away from getting out unscathed, but the pitch caught too much of the plate and Austin Riley belted it to left to extend Atlanta’s lead to three.

It was all downhill for the A’s from there. Austin Pruitt relieved Acevedo and pitched the seventh, allowing a solo shot, then allowed a trio of base runners in the eighth before finally getting yanked for left-hander Sam Selman. He allowed 2-run and 3-run home runs before finally ending the inning with a strikeout, just a mere seven runs later.

The A’s could only manage a few more hits the rest of the way, two singles from Laureano and another from Murphy. The score was so lopsided and out of reach, Kotsay turned to Christian Bethancourt for the bottom of the eighth, electing to conserve the actual bullpen arms for the rest of this long road trip. We were fortunate enough to get this web gem from Laureano:

So another loss, this one by a bit larger margin than last night. The offense has scored two runs or less far too many times, but that wasn’t the main issue tonight. It’s hard to win any game when you allow 13 runs.

Kotsay spoke after the game about the losing streak and the team:

You can’t say it was painless, but at least this series went by fast. The A’s are now set to head to Cleveland to take on the Guardians for a four-game series. They got swept at the Coliseum by them earlier in the year, so some revenge in their hearts could help end this eight-game skid. It’ll be James Kaprielian’s turn in the rotation.

Notes:

  • Outfielder Ramon Laureano extended his MLB-leading 12-game hit streak and then some, getting two hits and a double, in addition to that sweet catch in the eighth.
  • Catcher Sean Murphy looked good again today, nailing a would-be base stealer and collecting a pair of singles. He’s put better swings on the ball since being dropped in the batting order.
  • Of all the players to throw a scoreless inning of relief, it was the position player that kept the Braves from scoring. The three actual relievers? Nine runs in three combined innings.