clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bullpen struggles continue for Athletics in 7-5 loss to Cardinals

One day after an implosion in Washington, Oakland’s bullpen coughed up another lead.

Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics batted back from an early deficit, but once again watched their bullpen let it slip away in a 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

JP Sears pitched himself into and out of trouble in the first inning. Tommy Edman flew out to start the game, but Sears then walked Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt stole second, but Sears struck out Nolan Arenado for the second out. He then issued back-to-back walks to Willson Contreras and Tyler O’Neil to load the bases. However, he would escape the jam as Lars Nootbar lined out to Tyler Soderstrom at first base to strand the runners.

A missed opportunity came back to haunt Sears in the second. He struck out Luken Baker to start the inning, but then allowed a single to Jordan Walker. Sears recorded another strikeout of Taylor Motter and then picked off Walker at first base. However, the Cardinals challenged and the call was overturned as Zack Gelof was unable to get the tag on Walker. Edman would make them pay with a bloop single to right that scored Walker to put the Cardinals in front 1-0.

Miles Mikolas allowed just one hit to the A’s over the first two innings. He walked Shea Langeliers to start the third. Lawrence Butler flew out for the first out before Nick Allen hit into a force play. Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher interference to put runners at first and second, but Gelof flew out harmlessly to right for the final out.

Sears allowed a leadoff single to Contreras to start the third. Contreras moved to second on a deep fly out by O’Neil before Nootbar sent a liner to center that Lawrence Butler flagged down with a sliding grab and then threw to second to complete the double play.

Sears added two more strikeouts in a perfect fourth and the A’s took the lead in the fifth. Mikolas retired Langeliers on a fly out and then got Butler to ground out for the first two outs of the inning. He then hit Nick Allen with a pitch and Ruiz made him pay with his second homer of the season.

The lead wouldn’t last for long. Sears came back for the fifth and allowed a single to Edman and then a two-run home run to Goldschmidt to put the Cardinals back in front 3-2. Sears then retired Arenado and Andrew Knizner on fly outs, but then walked O’Neill to prolong the inning. O’Neil stole second, but Sears struck out Nootbar to avoid anymore damage.

Oakland threatened in the sixth as Seth Brown singled and then moved to second on a walk by Brent Rooker. However, the A’s were unable to come up with a big hit as Jordan Diaz bounced back to Mikolas who started a 1-4-3 double play. Soderstrom grounded out sharply to Goldschmidt at first to strand Brown at third.

Sears would give way to Lucas Erceg to start the sixth after allowing six hits, four walks and three runs over five innings. He struck out six while throwing 97 pitches.

Erceg worked around a one-out walk in a scoreless sixth before the A’s got something going again in the seventh. Mikolas struck out Langeliers for the first out, but then allowed back-to-back singles to Butler and Allen. That would be the end of the night for Mikolas who was replaced by Giovanny Gallegos. Ruiz lined out sharply to Edman for the second out, but Gelof came through with a double down the left field line that scored Butler to tie the game.

Oakland wasn’t finished though as Brown followed with a single to left that scored Allen and Gelof to put the A’s back in front 5-3.

Mark Kotsay went to Angel Felipe for the seventh and he worked his way into some immediate trouble by walking Goldschmidt to begin the inning. Felipe struck out Arenado for the first out, but then issued two more walks to Knizner and O’Neil to load the bases. That prompted another pitching change for Kotsay who summoned Francisco Perez to face Nootbar.

Perez didn’t provide much relief as he walked Nootbar on five pitches to force in a run to make it 5-4. Perez came back after the walk and struck out Baker looking for the second out. He ran the count to 3-2 against Walker who lifted a deep fly to the right field gap that Brown was unable to haul in. Three runs scored on the play to put the Cardinals back in front 7-5.

Zach Neal entered the game in the eighth and allowed a walk and a single, but nothing else to keep the deficit at two runs. The A’s got a runner in scoring position to start the ninth as Allen reached on a throwing error by Cardinals pitcher JoJo Romero. Romero though came back and struck out Ruiz and Gelof before Brown grounded out to end the game.

The loss is Oakland’s fourth straight and drops them to 33-86 on the season.