Oakland dropped the series opener against San Diego tonight, falling by a final of 8-3 to the Padres in Bob Melvin’s first game back at the Coliseum since departing the A’s.
It was a tough start for Oakland all around tonight. On fireworks night at the Coliseum it was the Padres who had the explosions. A quick first out of the game was followed up immediately by a Fernando Tatis Jr. solo home run, quickly putting Athletics starter Sean Newcomb in an early deficit. He didn’t help himself after that with back-to-back walks, and the first one eventually came around to score on a wild pitch from the left-hander.
The next inning didn’t go any better for Newcomb. Making just his second start of the year, Newcomb loaded the bases in the second with no outs and that is just asking for trouble. He got just that when Tatis came up and drove in two with a 2-run single. He locked in after that and got the next two outs to escape the frame but the damage was done. After only an inning and a half the club was down 4-0.
Oakland then began the tall climb back into this game. It started thanks to a solo bomb from catcher Shea Langeliers:
No. 20 on the season for Bangeliers pic.twitter.com/iotuKWf10S— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 16, 2023
It’s been an inconsistent season to be sure for Langeliers in his first full season behind the plate, but the centerpiece of the Matt Olson trade is finally starting to come on here in the final weeks of the season. If there was any doubt about who would be catching Opening Day 2024, that can be put to rest right now.
Finally, Sean Newcomb had a shutout inning in the third. That ended up being his last frame of the day as he finished the evening at 79 pitches. The bullpen would need to pull its weight and then some tonight.
The A’s brought in another run in the bottom half of the third thanks in large part to speedy outfielder Esteuy Ruiz. A one out single preceded Ruiz’s 59th stolen base of the season, putting him not only in scoring position but also just seven stolen bases away from the AL rookie record for stolen bases! If Ruiz hadn’t missed time due to that shoulder injury he might already have eclipsed that record set by Kenny Lofton. With just 15 games left, can Ruiz nab those final seven bags?
Anyway, the game. First baseman Ryan Noda followed Ruiz and brought him all the way around thanks to a ground-rule double that bounced over the left field fence. The deficit at this point was just two runs. Not great, not terrible.
With Newcomb providing a limited start for the club, Mark Kotsay needed someone to soak up some frames for the club. He turned to started-turned-long-reliever Adrian Martinez for the bulk of the rest of the game. Martinez had an easy 1-2-3 fourth inning but got tagged by the Padres for a run in the fifth. That was the only run San Diego got off their former prospect as Martinez ultimately pitched a huge 4 2⁄3 innings for the Athletics. Considering the quick hook that Kotsay gave his starting pitcher, tobight’s performance from Martinez was desperately needed and helped preserve the bullpen for the rest of the weekend.
Oakland got that run back in the bottom of the sixth when All-Star Brent Rooker came up and hit his 25th homer of the season, making it again just a two-run deficit:
Sadly for the Athletics tonight that was as close as they would get to San Diego tonight. The A’s managed just one more base runner tonight (a Zack Gelof walk and steal) while the Padres tagged Oakland reliever Devin Sweet for a game-sealing 3-run home run in the ninth. There was a chance for some late game fireworks but this game was over after that ball went over the fence.
Now all that’s left is the postgame firework show. Considering where these teams entered this season, tonight’s game isn’t the worst this team performed. The final score doesn’t really tell how close this game was for the majority of the contest. It’s hard to win games in Major League Baseball when your starter pitches only three innings and the bats only rack up five hits.
On the bright side, those at the game are being treated to an awesome fireworks show. And even better, the club has a quick turnaround for game two tomorrow. It’ll be young stud Mason Miller facing off against San Diego’s #5 starter Matt Waldron tomorrow afternoon at the Coliseum. Need a win tomorrow!