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Athletics come up short again in 5-4 loss to Twins

JP Sears gave the A’s a chance, but the bullpen gave up the lead.

Minnesota Twins v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

JP Sears turned in another good outing, but the Oakland Athletics saw another late lead slip away in a 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

JP Sears got off to a fast start retiring the first six hitters he faced over the first two innings. The A’s gave him a lead in the second. Seth Brown worked a leadoff walk, but was erased on a double play by Tyler Soderstrom. However, Jordan Diaz followed with a solo home run to left to put Oakland in front 1-0.

Sears allowed a single to Christian Vazquez and then later hit Carlos Correa, but got Donovan Solano to ground out to leave them stranded. He retired the side in order in the fourth and sat down Byron Buxton swinging for his fifth strikeout.

Zack Gelof singled for the third-straight game to lead off the fourth. JJ Bleday followed with a walk to put runners at first and second. Brown flew out deep to left for the first out before Soderstrom singled to right to load the bases. Diaz then sent another fly to left that Willi Castro made a nice diving play on for the out. Gelof tagged up and scored to push the lead to 2-0. The A’s were finished though as Aledmys Diaz hooked one into the left field corner to bring home another run.

The Twins got both of those runs back in the fifth as Sears allowed solo home runs to Vazquez and Alex Kirilloff to cut the lead to 3-2. Sears got Correa to bounce back to the mound to escape with no more damage.

Tony Kemp stayed hot with a one-out single in the fifth and then stole second for his 10th stolen base of the season. However, he was left stranded as Ryan struck out Gelof and Bleday to end the inning.

Sears worked a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth including back-to-back strikeouts of Buxton and Kyle Farmer. The A’s threatened in the home half of the inning but came away empty handed. Ryan hit Brown with a pitch to start the inning and then walked Soderstrom. He struck out Jordan Diaz for the first out and then gave way to Jorge Lopez who got Aledmys Diaz to line into a double play to end the inning.

Sears came back out for the seventh and retired Castro on a fly out. Max Kepler followed with an opposite field single. That would end Sears’ afternoon as Mark Kotsay summoned Lucas Erceg from the bullpen. Erceg walked Vazquez and then got pinch-hitter Edouard Julien to ground sharply to Aledmys Diaz at third. Diaz flagged it down and kept it on the infield, but fumbled the transfer to load the bases. That would prove costly as Kirilloff sent a double down the left field line that cleared the bases and gave the Twins a 5-3 lead. Erceg then walked Correa and Kotsay went back to his bullpen for Shintaro Fujinami who got Solano to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Sears did his job again and put the A’s in position to win the game. He allowed four hits and three runs over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter while throwing 90 pitches. Erceg didn’t retire a batter while allowing two hits, two walks and two runs.

Oakland wouldn’t quit though and got one of those runs back right away. Shea Langeliers walked to begin the inning. He moved to second on a wild pitch before Gelof delivered with a two-out bloop double down the line in right to cut the deficit to 5-4. Bleday struck out to leave Gelof stranded at second.

Fujinami came through with a shutdown inning in the eighth, but Emilio Pagan retired the A’s in order to keep the game at 5-4. Sam Long worked around a two-out walk to Joey Gallo to give Oakland a chance in the ninth.

Jhoan Duran entered for the Twins in the ninth. He got Aledmys Diaz to ground out, before Langeliers doubled off the top of the wall in right center to put the tying run in scoring position. Cody Thomas pinch ran for Langeliers, but Duran got Jace Peterson to fly out to left for the second out. Kemp lined out sharply to Castro in center to end the game.

The loss drops the A’s to 25-70 for the season and have now lost seven-straight games. They will continue their homestand Monday when the Boston Red Sox arrive for a three-game series.