I always feel like there’s a little less to worry about when the Athletics (74-52) start Jeff Samardzija. He’s always just so solid, I have him built up in my mind as a guy that will always give the boys a chance to win. Today that piece of mind went right out the window, as the Shark struggled at home, giving up seven runs against a generally punchless New York Mets (60-68) lineup.
Both Samardzija (L, 5-10) and Zach Wheeler (W, 9-8) enjoyed two peaceful three-up-three-down innings to begin the game, but the wheels came off quickly for the A’s righty in the top of the third inning. It all started when Eric Campbell lead off with a solo homer to center field on a 94 mph fastball. Then with two outs both Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy hit singles and David Wright walked to set the table for Lucas Duda. Granderson scored on a wild pitch from Samardzija before Duda hit his 23rd long fly of the season to quickly put the Mets up 5-0.
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The Athletics struck back in the bottom of the third, as Eric Sogard walked and was driven in to score on a double by Coco Crisp. John Jaso then doubled to bring Crisp home and reduce the deficit to 5-2. However, the Mets answered back yet again in the top of the fourth with a walk and three singles to plate two more runs and knock Samardzija out of the game in favor of Jesse Chavez.
The A’s scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a David Wright fielding error, Chavez gave up a run on a Wilmer Flores single in the top of the fifth and the score stayed 8-4 until the bottom of the eighth.
In that bottom of the eighth, Brandon Moss walked with one out and got to second on a fielding error by Lucas Duda that allowed Josh Reddick to reach first. Alberto Callaspo walked on four pitches from Vic Black who was replaced by Jeurys Familia. Familia then threw a five pitch walk to Sam Fuld, plating Moss and putting the tying run on first for Andy Parrino. Parrino grounded out to bring up Josh Donaldson, hitting in the ninth spot after pinch hitting for Sogard in seventh. Donaldson then hit a ground ball up the middle to Wilmer Flores who bobbled the ball but was able to get the ball to first before a diving JD reached the bag.
And that was that. Stephen Vogt doubled in the ninth with two outs, but Brandon Moss grounded out to end the ballgame.
The rough stretch continues for the Athletics, who have now won only two of their last ten games. They have a day to lick their wounds and get right for a huge series against the Angels this weekend. The A’s will be playing seven of their next ten games against the division leading Angels, and if I didn’t have to write “division leading Angels” ever again I would be a very happy man. Friday’s game starts at 7:05pm at the Coliseum.
Today’s game is the last day game the Athletics will play in until August 31st in Anaheim against the Angels.
When Josh Donaldson pinch hit for Eric Sogard, it was only the second time this season and fifth time in his career that the slugger has been in the last position in the lineup. The last time? When he pinch hit for Sogard against Texas on June 17th.