Down the rabbit hole the Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman gives chase for gloving a foul ball but can’t reach it over the tarp near the stands hit by the Seattle Mariners Jake Bauers in the top of the fourth inning at the Oakland Ring Central Coliseum on Tue Sep 21, 2021 (AP News photo)
Seattle 5 – 9 – 0
Oakland 2 – 6 – 1
By Lewis Rubman
Tuesday September 21, 2021
OAKLAND–Today is the last day of the summer of ‘21, and, with their 5-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the A’s look ready to say good bye to both the season and their chances of playing in the post season.
The game started well for the home team. With two down in the first, Matt Olson blasted a slow hanging curve from Marco González 416 feet from home plate and over the right field fence for his 37th home run of the year, giving the A’s an early 1-0 lead.
Big ball giveth, but small ball taketh away. After striking Jarred Kelenic out to open the second, the Athletics´starter, Paul Blackburn, hit Jake Bauers with a pitch. Blackburn then gave up a hit ‘em where they ain’t single to right by Tom Murphy, against whom the A’s employed a quasi shift, with Josh Harrison stationed just to the right of second base.
Jake Fraley hit a sharp bouncer to Olson at first, whose throw to Elvis Andrus forced Kelenic at second. AAndrus’s relay was late, so Fraley was safe at first. Meanwhile, Bauers advanced to third. Dylan Moor struck out to end the inning, but not before Blackburn threw a pick off attempt past Olson, which allowed Bauers to race home with the tying tally.
Kelenic opened the Mariners’ fourth with a triple to right center. Umpire Ryan Wills called him out at third, but a video review showed that he was well and truly safe. Blackburn fought back, striking out Bauers and Murphy before walking Fraley on a 3-2 pitch in a plate appearan;ce that had many of the earmarks of a semi-intentional walk.
After all, Moore, who was up next, came into the game with a .182 batting average and had struck out in his only other at bat. He whalloped a triple that a leaping Canha couldn’t pull down in front of the 7-Up sign. A single to center by JP Crawford, and the A’s were down 4-1. Blackburn finally retired the M’s with a pop fly to second by Ty France.
Blackburn had, by then, delivered 83 pitches in four innings, which was all was to throw tonight. He had been touched for four runs, three earned, on six hits, a walk, and a hit batter. He struck out five. 48 of his pitches were strikes.
Starling Marte brought the A’s a bit closer when, leading off in the fourth, he snuck a high fly over the center field fence at the 400 foot marker. It was his 15th dinger of the year and his fifth for Oakland, González quickly disposed of the two Matts, Olson and Chapman, but Gomes and Pinder singled, putting the potential tying runs on base. Canha hit a hard shot that staggered Crawford, but the Seattle shortstop recovered fast enough to throw the hustling Canha out at first.
Sam Moll, who had pitched a scoreless eighth against the M´s on Monday night, relieved the departed Blackburn when the A’s took the field in the fifth. He retired the side on three strike outs and a hit batter. He gave up a single too Fraley in the sixth but caught the Seattle left fielder trying to steal, 1-3-6, and didn’t let anyone else reach base.
Yusmeiro Petit took over mound duties for the green and gold in the top of the seventh. Crawford greeted him with a double that bounced off the left center field wall between the 7-Up and Rickey Henderson Field signs. He stayed on second when Andrus made a beautiful play on France’s hard bounder that looked like it was going to go into left, but he advanced to third on Seager’s grounder to Olson. Chapman made a nice. plaly on Haniger’s grounder to save Petit’s bacon.
González left the game after finishing his sixth frame. He threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes, and allowed two runs, both earned, on four hits, half of which were solo home runs, and a walk. Casey Sadler, his replacement, set the A’s down 1, 2, 3 in the home seventh.
Jake Diekman pitched the eighth for Oakland. He walked Murphy but struck out Kelenic, Bauers, and Fraley.
Paul Seward, who earned his ninth save of the season with a shutout ninth inning against the A’s, pitched the eighth for Seattle tonight. He gave up a two out double to the no longer slumping Marte before conceeding a walk to Olson, whoich put the tying runs on base for Chapman. He left them there, fanning on a 1-2 93 mph fast ball.
Sergio Romo came in to try to keep the A’s in. the game but gave up a home run on a hanging slilder that Parker parked in the right field seats.
A pinch hitting Jed Lowrie greeted close Drew Steckendrider with a leg double through the shift to right. Kemp lined out to center, but when Canha, the human dart board reached first after being hit by a pitch, Oakland again had the potential tying runs on base, this time with one out and Seth Brown at the plate, He hit into a 4-6 force out, leaving it up to Andrus, hitless so far after a six game hitting streak. He popped out.
González, who got the win, is now 9-5, 4.01. The save went to Streckenrider, his 10th. Blackburn, 1-3, 5.17, took the loss.
The teams are now tied for second place in the AL West at 81-69. They will do battle Wednesday at 6:40. Cole Irvin (10-13,3.94) and Chris Flexen (12-6, 3.66) will be the probable starters.