The A’s sputtered at the plate Sunday afternoon, losing 4-2 to split the four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. It didn’t matter who took the mound for the Angels (24-29), the A’s could not string together any hits. Oakland (31-24) scored just two runs in the third, without a single hit, and that was the best that they could do.
The A’s got two hits in the first two innings and didn’t get another until the eighth. They trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, when Mitch Moreland led off with a single up the middle for his first hit of the game but he was left stranded.
Bob Melvin would like his team to have a couple more wins after completing a third of the season. He said it hasn’t been great but was not mad about Irvin’s outing:
“He just had the one inning. It was good to see him settle down though because he had a couple tough starts and then got off to a little bit of a slow start, obviously we have given up four in the second but it was able to recover and pitch like he has previous to these last two outings so if you’re looking for a silver lining that was a good one.”
LHP Cole Irvin (L, 3-7, 4.12 ERA) had thrown just two pitches in the second inning when Jared Walsh launched his twelfth homer of the season to right center to give his team a 1-0 lead, starting a rally. Back-to-back singles from Kurt Suzuki and Taylor Ward advanced to scoring position when Kean Wong bunted for the first out.
Irvin said the game plan was to use his fastball more. He didn’t do that in the second inning, and it hurt him:
“For the most part I felt that the execution was good but pitching backwards as early as we did in that second inning really came back to haunt me… I just need to pitch with my fastball a little more and I did that the rest of the outing. The game plan was to just pitch with my fastball and we just didn’t do that in the second inning and that is something I have to pay the price for but kept the game close as long as I could.”
David Fletcher doubled on a first pitch slider to clear the bases, and it was quickly 3-0. Top of the order Phil Grosselin singled down the first base line to score Fletcher, which made it 4-0 with just one out. Irvin struck out Shohei Ohtani before Anthony Rendon fouled out to Matt Olson, who made an impressive catch to end the inning.
Irvin broke down what went wrong that inning:
“I thought I was making good pitches, it was just speeding up their bats to have them make contact and unfortunately it led to a four-run inning. Ultimately it was the deciding factor in the game so I just need to get on my fastball a little sooner. Stuff that is maybe a learning experience. When I do fall into that trap next time I get to it a lot sooner. It stinks because I felt like that game could have been handled a little bit differently if I put up maybe a one or a two that inning. Maybe we are still out there playing so it’s just unfortunate that I spit up some barrels.”
Irvin threw a nine-pitch first inning yet entered the third at 37 pitches. He pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning on twelve pitches and kept the Angels (24-29) scoreless until for the remainder of his outing. He threw six full, allowing six hits and five of them came in the sloppy second. Irvin held Los Angeles at four runs before he was relieved by Burch Smith for the seventh.
Irvin is known to want to go deep into games and prides himself in trying to keep the bullpen rested on his start days. He explained how he was able to go six innings after the four-run second:
“After those four runs and that mound visit, I kinda turned it up another gear. Not intentionally, it was more so just trying to get outs so I could continue pitching that game. That’s ultimately what kept me in there for six innings, was being able to just execute with the fastball and then use my changeup… the way I know how to pitch is kinda where that rest of the game fell so moral of the story is just pitch with my fastball and I will be ok.”
Piscotty explained what the issue with the team’s offense has been, and reiterated how hard it is to hit:
“With hitting there is never a light switch that you can flip and just start going. Sometimes you just have to grind through and have good at bats. I think guys are still having great at-bats. You look at guys like Mark [Canha] working counts, getting on base and that sort of thing. Early in that game I think there were three straight walks which you can attribute to the pitcher or the hitter you know having discipline up there and fouling off pitches and that sort of thing. Usually that is a great sign of things to come when you are having those good at-bats so hopefully just a little lol and we will get back to it.”
Top of the order Mark Canha led off the third when he reached on a throwing error by Angels shortstop Fletcher who made his first baseman jump and the speedy Canha was called safe. Three straight walks to Matt Chapman, Lowrie and Matt Olson scored Canha and the A’s trailed 4-1 with the bases loaded and no outs. Sean Murphy sacrificed in the second run of the inning to make it 4-2, and that was all the A’s could do. Quintana was relieved after three innings where he walked four, struck out five and gave up a pair of hits.
Piscotty explained the team was happy with the two runs that followed the four-run inning and didn’t think that was how the day would end. He believes it’s just one of those stretches and it’s a long season, the team will be fine and aren’t worried:
“When you are down 4-0 when you get one or two that is a great start. We say in the dugout chip away, chip away and that is what we did in that inning. Obviously it is great to have more runs in each inning, [Murphy’s sac fly in the third] and Olson had the walk so I think we would love to have more but I don’t think we are kicking ourselves over that.”
José Suarez (W, 2-0, 2.00 ERA) started the fourth on the mound and kept the A’s hitless for three innings. Piscotty became the first baserunner when he drew a full-count walk to leadoff the seventh. Quintana was relieved after 53 pitches and just one walk in three innings, and Steve Cishek entered the game with a man on first and no outs. He retired the next three batters to keep it a 4-2 ballgame after the seventh.
Bob Melvin said it felt good to get on the board but expected the team to do more at that point:
“It turned out not great but at the time we made him work, we scored a couple runs so the feeling was a little better after being down four. We thought obviously at some point in time we were going to score more runs, we just didn’t. Yeah you would like one more hit, score a couple more runs but like I said, at the time, it just felt good to get on the board.”
Cam Bedrosian pitched the eighth for Oakland with Chad Pinder at shortstop and Brown in left. Smith threw one inning and allowed one hit and one walk but kept the Angels scoreless. Bedrosian gave up a leadoff single to Juan Lagares and walked Walsh on four straight balls to put two on with no outs. He escaped the inning scoreless and picked up a strikeout for the final out.
Mike Mayers started the eighth on the mound for the Angels. Chad Pinder hit the third two-out double of the game in the eighth inning off Mayers, but was also left stranded. Mayers was relieved after the double by Raisel Iglesias, who kept Pinder on second and allowed a single up the middle to Moreland in the ninth and earned the save.
Melvin addressed the teams offense:
“Just quiet offensively. It is going to happen sometimes and that is why you try to hold the other team down and get some big hits when you aren’t getting a ton of them. Going into the eighth we only had two hits offensively it is not enough but you go through some period like this and the last couple games we had some opportunities we just didn’t come through as much as we would like to. “
LHP Jesús Luzardo pitched the ninth for the A’s and took the mound for the first time since May 1, this time coming out of the bullpen. Luzardo pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning on just eight pitches.
James Kaprielian (2-0, 1.53 ERA) will make his fourth major league start in Seattle on Monday. The Mariners will start Logan Gilbert (0-2, 7.59 ERA) and the first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. Kaprielian was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 12 and has allowed just two runs or less in his first three starts. He faced the Mariners last Wednesday in Oakland when he picked up his second win with a 6-3 victory. Kaprielian is looking to avoid his first loss and Gilbert is looking to get his first win.