After winning five straight and 11 of 12, the A’s have dropped two straight games and their offense has faltered.
A 3-2 loss to the Jays Friday night spoiled a terrific pitching effort from Scott Kazmir, whose only mistake was a fastball in the second inning to Steve Tolleson that wound up being a two-run homer.
The prevalent story, however, was that the A’s had runners on base all game long, but couldn’t knock them in. They left nine on base and had just one hit with runners in scoring position – an Alberto Callaspo two-out RBI single in the eighth to put the A’s within a run. But the next batter, Derek Norris, struck out with the tying run on second. In the ninth, Coco Crisp hit a double with two out, but Jed Lowrie bounced out to second to end the game.
Another factor was either fate or just plain bad luck, because the A’s hit several balls right to the warning track, but just short of the wall and they ended up being nothing but loud outs. Case in point: with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth, Lowrie sent one to right center to the warning track – and the two outfielders didn’t communicated and almost collided – but the center fielder Kevin Pillar caught it, nearly taking the ball away from Jose Bautista, the right fielder. If that ball drops, the A’s take the lead and perhaps steal a win.
— The offense has suddenly become a concern. It has been in a relative slump the last three games. They beat the Rays on Wednesday on the benefit of just one hit, lost the series finale on Thursday with six hits in 11 innings, and now tonight, where they squandered chance after chance. But the A’s have the most runs in the A.L. with 243. Teams will go through struggles like these throughout a 162-game season; talk to me if they’re still out of whack in a week.
— Bench coach Chip Hale filled in for Bob Melvin today, as the A’s manager attended his daughter’s graduation in New York. In his first game as a skipper, Hale made a risky move in the eighth, pinch-hitting Callaspo for Josh Reddick with two on and two out in the eighth. Callaspo’s struggles since his hot start to the season have been well documented, and he was coming off the bench cold in an important situation. But the gamble paid off for Hale as Callaspo delivered a single with two strikes, knocking in a run to draw the A’s closer.
— Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless eighth inning, bringing his ERA down to … you guessed it, 6.63.