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A’s come up short in 7-1 loss to Reds

Esteury Ruiz drove home Oakland’s only run.

MLB: Spring Training-San Diego Padres at Oakland Athletics Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Muller turned in a solid effort, but the Oakland Athletics’ offense was unable to get on track in a 7-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Muller came into Saturday’s game looking to keep pace in the race for one of the final rotation spots. He got off to a good start as well retiring the side in order in the first. Luke Maile led off the second with a single to left, but Muller came right back and sat the next three hitters down in order.

Muller again set the Reds down in order in the third and then the A’s offense got him a lead. Nick Allen led off the inning with a triple to right center and then came in to score the game’s first run on a single by Esteury Ruiz.

Muller added a couple more strikeouts in a perfect fourth. He retired nine straight before Jason Vosler doubled to start the fifth inning. Muller struck out Alejo Lopez for the first out, but the surrendered a double to Stuart Fairchild that scored Vosler to tie the game. Noelvi Marte followed with yet another double to put the Reds in front 2-1. Marte came around to score on a single by Alex McGarry to extend the deficit to 3-1. After a mound visit, Muller picked McGarry off of first and then got Kevin Newman to pop out to escape the inning.

Muller came back out to start the sixth and got TJ Friedl to ground out to Jesus Aguilar at first. He would then give way to Zach Jackson who got Chad Pinder to fly out for the second out, but then loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Jackson then ran the count full against Fairchild and walked him to force in another run to make it 4-1. He then ran the count full again to Marte who singled off the glove of a leaping Tyler Wade to make it 5-0. Austin Pruitt entered to try and clean up the mess. McGarry hit a slow roller to that Wade couldn’t make a play on. A second runner tried to score and Tony Kemp made a heads up play throwing home to Tyler Soderstrom to bring the inning to an end.

Muller cruised through the early innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He allowed five hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone.

Pruitt returned for the seventh and allowed a leadoff hit to Newman, but left him stranded at third. Sam Moll surrendered a solo home run to Fairchild in the eighth to make it 7-1. Dany Jimenez worked a scoreless frame in the ninth.

Oakland managed just five hits on the afternoon. Zack Gelof had a single and stole a base. Kevin Smith also added a single to raise his average to .387 for the spring.

The A’s will be back in action on Sunday with Shintaro Fujinami and Drew Rucinski scheduled to pitch against the Dodgers.