The A’s lost on Latin and Hispanic Heritage Night, falling to the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on a cool evening at the Coliseum.
The A’s probably weren’t expecting such a great start from an emergency option but that’s what they got as a middle reliever tossed five hitless innings while the bullpen was almost as dominant until the final arm let the game go with a disastrous ninth inning.
After scheduled starter James Kaprielian was scratched pregame due to a cut on his right middle finger, reliever Austin Pruitt was called upon to start what would now be a bullpen game. He performed way above expectations considering the circumstances, having not started a game in three years and only finding out this morning of his new assignment.
The right-hander provided five nearly-perfect innings for the club. Manager Mark Kotsay rolled the dice and sent him out for a fourth after 9-up/9-down and while his perfect game was broken up by an error in the fourth, he didn’t allow anything else in the inning. The same thing happened in the fifth, but Pruitt didn’t let another error by his defense get into his head as he struck out his final batter of the day swinging, stranding a Chicago runner at second.
-Austin Pruitt: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 55 pitches
An extremely impressive start from Pruitt, who went as long as a starter would be expected. On top of his great performance, he was also in line for the win.
On the offensive side of things, the A’s got a run of Chicago starter Lucas Giolito in the first inning thanks to a couple leadoff singles, a sac fly and an RBI groundout from Ramon Laureano, who had to hustle to beat out a potential double play that would have prevented the run from scoring.
That hustle turned out to be huge as the bats went silent after the first, getting just one walk (that was promptly wiped out on a double play) over the next three innings.
They got a couple insurance runs in the fifth when Tony Kemp flared a ball down the left field line with two outs and two strikes to bring in one run…
TK flares a single down the line to extend the A's lead pic.twitter.com/OJC5u1B5UP— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 10, 2022
…and Sean Murphy barreled a ball into the gap in left center to bring a hustling Kemp around all the way from first to score:
Murph doubles to the gap to bring TK home pic.twitter.com/AqKPGod4eL— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 10, 2022
Back to the pitching. With a two-run lead, Kotsay finally turned to the bullpen with Joel Payamps first out, and he had a perfect sixth thanks to a little help from his shortstop:
The seventh wasn’t perfect, however, as Chicago finally collected their first two hits in the inning. They didn’t cash in on the chance, though, stranding both runners and getting Payamps out of the jam.
Right Domingo Acevedo had the eighth and pitched a scoreless frame with a hit allowed but also racked up three strikeouts.
Lefty AJ Puk got the save opportunity tonight but completely imploded, allowing five runs on four hits, a walk and a HBP. They were one strike away a couple times but Puk just couldn’t finish it off. He couldn’t even finish the inning as Domingo Tapia relieved Puk and got the team out of the inning.
The bats couldn’t match the late outburst from Chicago, going down without a threat in the bottom half to seal the loss.
Tonight is a perfect example of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. Everything was going their way until the ninth and then in the blink of an eye they were behind a pair of runs with only three outs to go. Never fun losing late like that.
Righty Adrian Martinez is set for the start tomorrow in game three of this four-game set, and he’ll be opposed by Lance Lynn. Should be a nice Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum!