JP Sears made his 31st start of the season in Sunday’s game and allowed a two-out double to Spencer Torkelson in the first inning. However, Sears would leave him stranded as Miguel Cabrera grounded out to end the inning.
Esteury Ruiz came into the game just three stolen bases away from tying Kenny Loftin’s rookie record. Ruiz led off the first inning with a single off of Eduardo Rodriguez and wasted no time stealing second for 64th stolen base of the season. Ruiz took off for third, but was thrown out by Jake Rodgers. Zack Gelof and Brent Rooker both struck out to end the inning.
Sears struck out the side in the second. He began the third with another strikeout of Zack Short, but then found himself in some trouble. Parker Meadows doubled to the left center gap. Sears walked Matt Vierling. Andy Ibanez then sent a fly ball into shallow right center that hit off of Gelof’s glove for a single to load the bases. Torkelson followed with a soft single to center that scored two to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Sears then walked Cabrera to load the bases again. He came back and struck out Rogers for the second out and then got Tyler Nevin to fly out to right to strand the runners. Sears saw his pitch count nearly double in the inning, but the damage could have been much worse.
Rodriguez retired five straight A’s hitters after Ruiz’s leadoff single, but walked Carlos Perez to start the third inning. However, he was erased when Kevin Smith bounced into a double play. Lawrence Butler grounded out to end the inning.
Sears allowed a two-out single to Meadows in the fourth, but nothing else in a scoreless frame. Vierling grounded out on a nice bare hand play by Aledmys Diaz at third to end the inning.
The A’s threatened in the second, but the inning ended in disappointing fashion. Ruiz led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Gelof walked and the A’s pulled off a double steal to put runners at second and third. Rooker then sent a grounder to Javy Baez who threw home in plenty of time to nab Ruiz at the plate. Rodriguez then got Aledmys Diaz to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sears allowed a single by Andy Ibanez to start the fifth, but he retired the next three hitters in order.
That would be it for Sears who got off to a great start, but really ran up his pitch count in the third. He allowed six hits, two walks and two runs over his five innings. Sears struck out seven while throwing 97 pitches.
JP Sears, Nasty 85mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/mRCWl9lBN6— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 24, 2023
Oakland got the leadoff man on again in the fifth as Shea Langeliers sent one into the left field corner for a double. The base running frustrations continued though as Ryan Noda sent a ground ball back through the middle that Baez fielded and then threw to third in time to get Langeliers for the first out. The mistake would immediately come back to haunt the A’s as Carlos Perez singled to left. Smith struck out looking for the second out, but Lawrence Butler worked a walk to load the bases. Rodriguez would escape the jam though as Ruiz grounded into a force play to leave them loaded.
Adrian Martinez replaced Sears to start the sixth and put up a zero. Oakland got a one-out single from Brent Rooker in the home half of the inning, but were unable to do anything with it.
Martinez retired the first two hitters in the seventh, but then walked Ibanez and hit Torkelson. He would get out of it though as Cabrera flew out to Butler in center for the third out.
The A’s got another runner into scoring position in the seventh as Noda walked and then moved to second on a ground out by Perez. Oakland again though was unable to come through with a big hit as Smith and Butler both flew out to leave Noda stranded.
Martinez allowed a single to Rogers to start the eighth and Mark Kotsay would go back to his bullpen and bring in lefty Kyle Muller. McKinstry tried to move the runner with a bunt, but Noda fielded it and threw on the run in time to cut down the runner at second. Muller jumped ahead of Baez 0-2, but then allowed a single to right that Rooker fielded and uncorked a strike to third in time to cut down McKinstry for the second out.
Zack Short followed with a single and a wild pitch moved both runners to second and third. Muller though got Meadows to ground out sharply to Smith to keep it 2-0.
Tigers’ reliever Jason Foley replaced Rodriguez in the eighth and retired Ruiz and Gelof to start the inning, but Rooker singled to left for his second hit of the day. Kotsay then went to Seth Brown to pinch-hit for Aledmys Diaz. A.J. Hinch countered by bringing in Alex Lange who struck out Brown on four pitches.
Zach Neal entered in the ninth and allowed a leadoff double to Vierling. Ibanez bunted the runner to third for the first out, but Neal came back and struck out Torkelson and Cabrera to end the inning.
Langeliers started the ninth with another double to left. He moved to third on a ground out by Noda. Tony Kemp entered as a pinch-hitter and struck out swinging for the second out. Tyler Soderstrom grounded out to first to end the game.
The loss is the A’s 108th of the season and ties them with the 1979 club for the most in franchise history since the club moved to Oakland.