Game #21: A late mistake costs the A’s in a 3-1 loss
The A’s lost another stellar pitching performance on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Cleveland Guardians 3-1 on a sunny but windy day at the Coliseum.
The pitching was there today, with choke cole irvin throwing six shutout frames, but the offense more or less disappeared again and the defense on the 9th cost Oakland two points and a chance for extras. So Oakland loses the series to a team that had lost 7 straight before facing the A’s. A little discouraging, but at least they were in it until the end of both games.
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It was a pitching duel at the Coliseum today, with Irvin taking on the Cleveland ace Shane Biberand both brought their game A. matching zeros for the few innings.
The first real scoring threat came when Cleveland put two in the second thanks to a lead walk and a single. Irvin got a nice 6-4-3 double play to put that out, though, with a replay review nullifying an early safe call.
Both teams loaded the bases with no outs in the third, and neither was able to score, as Irvin got a few weak flyball outs to Christian Pache while Bieber hit Billy McKinney and got a Seth Frontn groundout to end Oakland’s first rally of the day.
A team finally scored the next inning, it just wasn’t the A’s. A 1-out double Andres Gimenez, the same guy who hit the grand slam in last night’s loss. He stung Oakland again, sending a grounder down the middle to bring in the runner from second and give the Guardians a lead.
And with the way the bats have been doing, and with the 2020 Cy Young Award winner on the mound and throwing well, he was starting to feel that might be enough to lower the A’s chances of victory today .
Walk in Sheldon Neuse:
A torrid start to the year since Neuse. You have to wonder where the offense would be if he wasn’t there. That fifth-round outburst tied things up and landed Irvin for a potential L on his stat sheet. And that seemed to fire him up, as he hit the sideline in the sixth to end his day on a high.
- cole irvin: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 90 slots
Irvin himself is on a tear right now, giving up just two runs in his last 3 starts (16 IP). Again, a pitcher starting from the A’s gets in trouble, doesn’t get mad, and finds a way out. That was an early theme with the starters.
Unfortunately, another recent theme for Oakland has been a missing offense. The A’s are down to three hits after Neuse’s home run. Kevin Smith (2-3 in his first start) had a single that was immediately wiped out on a double play, and Nick Allen had a 2-out single and a steal (the first of his career!) in the 7th that Tony Kemp couldn’t get in.
Two relievers teamed up for the eighth and ninth innings, with zack jackson toss the 7th and take out two on the 8th before Kirby Snead came to pick up Steven Kwan. He dropped a single instead, but got the punch Jose Ramirez low ground.
Then the ninth arrived. Presumed closest Dany Jimenez, unmarked entering the game, allowed a first single. With one out and a runner early, Jimenez got the double play ball he wanted, but Allen, second today, couldn’t field the ball cleanly for an error to put two runners. Jimenez nearly escaped the jam, but a 2-pinch double that would have taken a Web Pache gem to catch brought both runners up and gave the Guardians a 2-point lead in the ninth.
The A’s at least made it interesting in the end, getting their third hit since the Neuse bomb, a 2-out Elvis Andrus double over the right fielder’s head. With Pache in place and representing the tying point, he sent a ball to the short circuit that he almost batted for a field single but was just behind, ending the game, securing the series loss and sending Oakland to May with a losing record.
It’s not fun losing to anyone, but with Cleveland having lost 7 straight to Oakland, the feeling was that the A’s were catching them at the perfect time and could get at least a few wins in this series. However, it almost never works that way in baseball. Now we have to hope they can scrape at least one win.
The good news is that Oakland is picking up reinforcements tomorrow afternoon in the form of James Kaprielian. The original prognosis was about a month, and it turns out that was exactly the case. The right-hander will make his season debut with the A’s desperate to salvage a game in this series. See you all in May!
To cheer you up before your Saturday night, at Athletics Nation, we present to you this little gem: