A season-high 11 strikeouts from Frankie Montas wasn’t enough to shut down the Mariners Monday night, as the A’s couldn’t string together enough timely hits to overtake Seattle in a 4-2 M’s win.
Oakland (28-21) mustered only a single run off Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi (W, 2-3, 4.02 ERA), who sprinkled four hits and three walks over his six innings.
The A’s trailed the entire game after a Seattle walk and Montas wild pitch in the first inning set the table for an RBI double from Mitch Haniger. Oakland would close the gap to two runs in the eighth when Tony Kemp and Seth Brown entered and instantly made an impact, with Kemp walking and Brown doubling him to trim the Seattle lead. But a 1-2-3 for the middle of the A’s order in the ninth sent home 3,019 fans without heroics or an Oakland win.
Montas (L, 5-4, 4.92 ERA) got into a jam in the first when he gave up a leadoff walk to Jarred Kelenic then advanced him to second on a wild pitch to Haniger. Haniger hit a line drive down the third base line for an RBI double to put the Mariners on the board 1-0.
Montas had 62 pitches through three innings but lasted three more. He said he was happy he went as deep as he did after having a high pitch count while also explaining that the Mariners are no joke:
“Everyone is in the big leagues because they can hit, they are a good team, I am not going to look down on them. … they made me throw a lot of pitches, and I feel like going through six innings when I was close to 50-something pitches in two innings, so that was good for me.”
Montas bounced back after the first inning and escaped quite a few jams. He said his splitter and other secondary pitches were working for him, but recalled a mistake from the third inning:
“Made one mistake, that was a fastball to Kyle Lewis, he is a fastball hitter. He is always jumping on the fastball and I made a mistake and he made me pay the price.”
The A’s hit off Kikuchi came from Ramon Laureano, who was left stranded in the first. Oakland would get just three more after that. Canha walked in the first inning, then stepped up to the plate in the third with two outs and hit a solo shot (10) to right to make it 3-1.
Kelenic led off the fifth inning with a bomb to right-center to make it 4-1. Montas lasted six innings and 101 pitches, allowing six hits and two homers.
Melvin broke down what went wrong in Montas’ outing but said he was not upset by his overall performance:
“Really good split tonight. Just two pitches really, two fast balls in the middle of the plate ended up being three of the four runs so sometimes you make mistakes and you get away with them and sometimes you don’t. Today, his mistakes he didn’t get away from them… I think the pitch to Haniger that drove in the first run might have been a decent pitch. I cant see in and out from where I am doesn’t look it was hit really hard but the two that bit them a little bit were the fastballs that were the homers.”
Cam Bedrosian took the mound for Oakland in the seventh down 4-1. He was called up from Las Vegas on Friday after signing a minor league deal in April 29. He appeared in five innings with the Aviators where he did not allow a single run. Bedrosian was a non-roster invitee of the Cincinnati Reds and was designated for assignment on April 17. In his A’s debut he had to face top of the Seattle order, and did it perfectly in just ten pitches with his velocity maxing out at 94 mph. Bedrosian came back out for the seventh, giving up a leadoff walk to Lewis but retired the next three batters.
Melvin on Bedrosian’s first A’s outing:
“I thought he pitched well, gave us two innings. Scoreless innings, you are always looking for a good first outing with your new team and not only did it for one inning but did it for two. Bullpen-wise we can use two-inning outings and kept us there for a while, kept us within shouting distance. Scored another run now were within and Guerra pitched a really good ninth for us as well, we just didn’t do enough offensively tonight.”
Rafael Montero relieved Kikuchi who only allowed one run in his six innings. Melvin explained what made Kikuchi so difficult:
“Today it was a really good cutter early and then used his 4-seamer and his slider a little better as the game went along and gave us a different look during the middle of the innings of the game but it seems like his cutter has been his pitch that has made him effective.”
In the eighth inning, Kemp walked after pinch-hitting for Stephen Piscotty who had been 0-for-3. Brown then pinch hit for Elvis Andrus and doubled off the wall in right center to score Kemp from first and make it 4-2. Erik Swanson relieved Montero, striking out the heart of the Oakland order while stranding two runners in the process.
Brown entered the game late and quickly made an impact. Melvin touched on how he had a bit of a dry spell and was happy to see him contribute off the bench in his first at-bat of the game:
“A little bit of a dry spell he has been swinging the bat well and for power so gave us a little bit of a spark. Tony comes off the bench for a walk and he doubles and now all of a sudden we get a little momentum in our dugout. Swanson obviously he did a good job after that and striking out the side.”
Deolis Guerra pitched a perfect ninth, needing just two pitches to get the first two outs from the Mariners No. 8 and No. 9 batters. Keynan Middleton (S, 3) kept the A’s out of the game in the ninth without any hope of a walk-off win.
LHP Cole Irvin (3-5, 3.59 ERA) battles Seattle rookie Logan Gilbert (0-2, 9.45 ERA) for game two of this three-game series Tuesday. Gilbert is seeking his first win in his fourth career major league start, and Irvin is looking to bounce back from his last start where he allowed five runs in five innings. The first pitch is set for 6:40 p.m.
Mark Canha’s solo home run was the Oakland A’s 45th solo home run. Oakland lead in the majors in most solo homers.