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Athletics fall short in series opener against Diamondbacks 5-2

Rucinski hit hard again, but the bullpen tosses five scoreless.

Speedy Ruiz steals 19th.
Esteury Ruiz stole his MLB-leading 19th base of the season in the third inning after driving in the A’s first run of the night.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, May 15, the Arizona Diamondbacks came to visit the Oakland Coliseum and the homestanding A’s. This was game one of a three-game set, their only series in 2023. The A’s sent struggling righty Drew Rucinski to the mound to face the D-backs’ right-hander Merrill Kelly. Rucinski entered the game with an 0-3 record and an 8.15 ERA, while Kelly, after eight starts this season, is 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA.

The Diamondbacks jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when Geraldo Perdomo hit a two-run homer to right field. Corbin Carroll walked to lead off the third inning; then Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. followed with a long homer to left centerfield. That doubled the score to 4-0. After three innings Rucinski had already thrown 68 pitches, which did not bode well for the duration of the game.

In the bottom of the third, Nick Allen reached on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Josh Rojas. Esteury Ruiz then drove him home with a bloop single to make it 4-1. Ruiz then stole his 19th bag of the season but was stranded at second.

The D-backs got that run back in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Corbin Carroll scoring Geraldo Perdomo. Nick Allen showed his excellent range going out to shallow center to make the catch but it was deep enough for the speedy Perdomo to score. After giving up a four-pitch walk to Gurriel, Jr., Rucinski’s night was over. He lasted 3 2/3 innings and threw 89 pitches. At the end of four innings, the Diamondbacks led 5-1.

Sacramento State Alum Sam Long pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and while he worked himself into and out of trouble a few times, he held Arizona scoreless. Lefty Richard Lovelady threw a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts to get the A’s through the seventh inning.

Jace Peterson took Merrill Kelly’s first pitch of the eighth deep to right centerfield for his third homer of the season. Jordan Diaz walked and Nick Allen singled. But Esteury Ruiz popped out to short, and Jordan Diaz was doubled off second base easily for a double play. After being down in the count 1-2, Ryan Noda worked a walk. But Brent Rooker, Friday night’s walk-off hero, popped out to shallow right field to end the inning.

After a short stint on the Injured List (IL) and a rehab assignment in Las Vegas, Adrian Martinez made his first return appearance in the eighth and nine pitching two scoreless innings. So while the A’s relievers pitched very well, the offense sputtered and failures by the starting pitcher did the A’s in again.