The 2020 A’s were undefeated in six extra inning games after Friday night’s walk-off win. They couldn’t make it seven Saturday afternoon, as Liam Hendriks and Lou Trivino combined to give up four runs in the extra eighth and the Mariners beat the A’s 5-1 in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader.
Hendriks came in for the seventh and final inning of the 1-1 game and pitched a perfect inning, but couldn’t repeat it in the eighth.
Dee Strange-Gordon pinch ran and started on second for Seattle (26-32). Braden Bishop – already 2-for-2 with half the Mariners hits – led off with a first-pitch sacrifice bunt to put Strange-Gordon on third with one out. J.P Crawford’s third hit of the game was a single to center, making it 2-1 and earning Crawford both of his team’s RBI.
Crawford then stole second, his sixth steal of the year on a 2-1 count to Ty France. On a full count, France hit a line drive to right, scoring Crawford scored from second to make it 3-1.
Trivino relieved Hendriks and struck out rookie of the year candidate Kyle Lewis looking on a full count for the second out, but there was more damage to come. Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer to right for a 5-1 lead the A’s (35-23) couldn’t come back from.
The A’s way too many opportunities where all they needed was a ball deep into the outfield to score a run yet they could deliver only once, thanks to designated hitter Khris Davis in the fourth. Former A’s starter Kendall Graveman (W, 1-3, 5.79 ERA) kept the A’s scoreless when he came into the game in the seventh and walked off the mound in the eighth with the win.
Hendriks had only allowed only three runs all season in 25 innings and 14 saves.
The Mariners got their first baserunner in the third inning. LHP Mike Minor retired the first eight batters before back-to-back singles to Bishop and Crawford. The pair put back-to-back hits together in the sixth, plating Bishop to tie the game 1-1.
Minor pitched five scoreless innings and allowed four hits from two batters in his one earned run. He said he had a good game plan with catcher Joan Heim and was happy with the way he pitched going into the postseason, whatever his role may be:
“I feel like I am making good pitches and striking guys out, limiting hits and runs but I was just hoping … but I do feel a lot better now even though the regular season is over but my confidence level is pretty high going into the post season.”
Bob Melvin touched on Minor’s performance:
“Great again. He has pitched really well against that team. His breaking ball seems to be getting better and better, maybe had his best velocity consistently that we have seen this year as well. He pitched really good, if we score a few more runs its a different outcome.”
Seattle starting LHP Justus Sheffield struggled with every leadoff batter up until a inning in the fifth. Marcus Semien lead off the first and third with singles, and Canha led off the second with a single and the fourth with a double. Matt Olson followed each of Canha’s at-bats with singles that put Canha on third, but Oakland stranded them both each time.
Oakland also loaded the bases in the second inning with one out but Khris Davis‘ pop up in the second wasn’t deep enough for a Canha tag. It was, though, in the fourth, when a Davis sacrifice fly scored Canha and made it 1-0, but that was all the A’s could do on Saturday afternoon.
Melvin spoke about his team’s hitting:
“I thought our at-bats early in the game were really good. It was the situational-at bats that cost us the game. The ones where you don’t hit in a run and that is really what did it. I thought early on there was a lot of energy, some good at-bats and deep count at-bats, made them work. It was just situations where all they had to do was put it in the air or put it in play and maybe get a run.”
The A’s played their fifth double-header of the season, tied for their most aside from 1986. It was their fourth in 19 days and second to the Mariners this season. … The series is now tied 1-1. … If the A’s pull off a win in the next two games they will own the title of best home record in Oakland history.