A’s Blow Lead in 5-4 Loss to Pirates

The Oakland A’s Nick Allen turns on the jets to run out a ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Mon Jun 5, 2023 (@Athletics photo)

By: Mary Anne

The Oakland Athletics opened a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night. The A’s fell short against the Pirates 5-4 in a back-and-forth series opener at PNC Park. Entering play, Oakland looked to end their four-game losing streak, but they couldn’t get in the win column as they dropped to 12-50, while Pittsburgh improved to 32-27.

The A’s Pitt stop wasn’t complete without their starting lineup of Esteury Ruiz, Ryan Noda, Brent Rooker, Seth Brown, Carlos Pérez, JJ Bleday, Jonah Bride, Jace Peterson, Nick Allen, and JP Sears. Sears pitched for 4 2/3 innings and gave up two hits, one run, one earned run, five walks, and six strikeouts before exiting the game. And, although Manny Piña wasn’t in the A’s starting lineup, the Venezuelan catcher celebrated his 36th birthday today.

The A’s wasted no time taking a quick lead in the top of the first inning. Ryan Noda singled on a line drive to Ji-Hwan Bae, and Esteury Ruiz scored for a 1-0 lead.

The A’s added to their lead in the top of the third inning. Seth Brown doubled on a line drive to Ji-Hwan Bae, and Ryan Noda scored for a 2-0 lead. Brent Rooker went to third base. Carlos Perez was out on a sacrifice fly to Connor Joe, and Rooker scored for a 3-0 lead. Brown went to third base with one out.

The Pirates avoided a shutout in the bottom of the fifth inning. Connor Joe doubled on a fly ball to Seth Brown deflected by Jace Peterson, and Mark Mathias scored to cut the A’s lead to 3-1. Andrew McCutchen went to third base.

The Pirates snatched a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Andrew McCutchen walked, and Ke’Bryan Hayes scored to cut the A’s lead to 3-2. Mark Mathias went to third base, and Austin Hedges went to second base.

Bryan Reynolds walked, and Mathias scored to tie the game 3-3. Hedges went to third base, and McCutchen went to second base. Jack Suwinski flew into a sacrifice fly double play, Seth Brown went to Jonah Bride, and Hedges scored for a 4-3 lead. McCutchen was out at third base with three outs.

The A’s tied the game 4-4 in the top of the eighth inning. Aledmys Diaz doubled on a sharp line drive to Bryan Reynolds, and Brent Rooker scored for a 4-4 tie.

The Pirates regained their lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Andrew McCutchen was out on a sacrifice fly to Ryan Noda, and Ji-Hwan Bae scored for a 5-4 lead with two outs.

The A’s and Pirates will meet again on Tuesday, June 6, at 4:05 pm Pacific. A’s starter for Tuesday right hander James Kaprielian (0-6 ERA 8.12) he’ll be opposed by the Pirates right hander Mitch Keller (7-1 ERA 3.25) at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Late To The Party: A’s stymied through six innings, lose 6-3 to the Astros

By Morris Phillips

On Sunday, the A’s didn’t throw up, they threw their hands up.

The visitors’ weekend visit to Houston highlighted how competitive they’ve been with the division leaders in splitting the first 12 meetings. That thin veneer of big league equality got wiped out at Minute Maid Park as the Astros completed a three-game sweep on Sunday, winning 6-3.

Cristian Javier had gone since July 1 without a win, recording an 0-5 record over six starts. His issue–including a loss to the A’s in Oakland on July 27–was allowing walks (12) and home runs (8) in numbers too inflated to give himself a chance to win. That wasn’t the case on Sunday however. Javier allowed one hit, no runs and three walks that alone didn’t harm him.

Consequently, the A’s had to wait their turn… the one that materialized after manager Dusty Baker lifted his starter after six innings.

“Once he came out of the game, we had some good at-bats and put some hits together and gave (ourselves) a chance,” manager Mark Kotsay said of the A’s offense.

The A’s are challenged offensively, everyone with a bean counter knows that. But they’re also battlers and gamers, a testament to the atmosphere Kotsay has instilled in his clubhouse. So given an opportunity to rally, they did, it just came too little, too late to interrupt their eighth, consecutive loss.

Nick Allen homered in the eighth, and Noah Bride contributed an RBI groundout in the ninth in front of Tony Kemp’s run-scoring single that cut a 6-0 deficit to 6-3. Reliever Rafael Montero’s task was to finish the game, and give closer Ryan Pressly a day off, but that plan failed when he walked Cal Stevenson, forcing Baker to summon Pressly.

With two on and one out, and the A’s trailing 6-2, Pressly allowed Kemp’s RBI single but retired Vimael Machin to end the game, picking up his 22nd save.

Cole Irvin’s been fantastic as the top starter for a team on pace to lose 100 games that doesn’t hit much, but he’s shown wear in his last three starts, culminating on Sunday. Irvin’s lost all three, and allowed a home run in each. Besides Bregman’s blast, Jose Altuve’s two-run double stung the most, leaving Irvin in a 4-0 hole after two innings.

“Sometimes you tip your cap, a combination of just some good hitting and maybe some bad luck with placement of the balls,” Kotsay said of Irvin’s outing.

On Saturday, Skye Bolt went viral with his upset stomach and the resulting projectile celebration. Amazingly, he stayed in the game. On Sunday, a Ramon Laureano swing caused an ache, and the outfielder did depart in the fourth inning with soreness in his ribcage area. Both are day-to-day and any negative change would require a roster move to address a shortage of outfielders.

The A’s travel to North Texas and will meet the struggling Rangers on Monday. James Kaprelian will start opposed by the Rangers’ Glenn Otto. Texas has lost 14 of 22 since the All-Star break.