After winning seven consecutive games with that run ending one day after the Reverse Boycott on June 13, the Oakland Athletics (19-57) have now lost seven consecutive games after falling 6-7 in the second matchup of the series against the Cleveland Guardians (35-38) on Wednesday.
It can be said that this one featured two very high-stakes slices of play surrounded by low-action innings in which the pitchers of both clubs thrived.
The first two innings were low on action, with a few walks and hits here and there but no team getting into the scoreboard until the third frame arrived. Gavin Williams (0-0) made his Major League debut for the Guardians after getting drafted in 2021 by the only organization he's ever known and allowed no runs through the first two innings. Oakland's All-Star starter Paul Blackburn (0-0) did the same on the other end.
It was A's rookie and bag-rusher Esteury Ruiz who opened the score with a single that brought Tony Kemp (single) home and advanced Tyler Wade (double) to third base. Ryan Noda would clean the bases with his eighth homer of the season a few pitches later, not before Ruiz stole second base, his 38th theft of the year.
Noda's bomb put the A's up 4-0 in what was starting to look like a very winnable game with a third of the match already in the books. The home run also started to put an end to rookie hurler Williams' day, which will be over after 5.2 innings in which he allowed four runs on four hits striking out four and walking three.
We're talking about the 19-57 A's, so you know what's coming next.
That's correct: Cleveland's Bo Naylor (walk), Steven Kwan (single), Amed Rosario (single), Jose Ramirez (single), and Josh Naylor (single) all reached base while Andres Gimenez hit a sacrifice fly scoring Rosario and making it a tight 4-3 affair by the end of the third.
Some things never change. Cue Ramon Laureano, who was the main reason for the Guardians to put more runs than expected up in the third with a fielding error, only for him to fix it later with a cannon throw home to prevent Cleveland to get up 6-8 in the bottom of the eighth and instead keeping them at one-run distance.
Following a pair of singles by Kemp and Aledmys Diaz, Esteury Ruiz added another bagger scoring Kemp to make it 5-4 A's in the top of the seventh. Noda and Seth Brown added one more single apiece, but as it's been the case all year long Oakland couldn't capitalize with RISP and failed to add more runs to the scoreboard.
In the top of the 9th inning controversy arrived after Tony Kemp walked and then, having fallen behind 0-2 in the count, Aledmys Diaz struck out on a pitch-clock violation call. It felt harsh and Diaz alleged that he had called for a time out but home-plate umpire Brock Ballou didn't think so and threw him out.
In the end, the Cleveland Guardians held on to win the game with a final score of 7-6. Emmanuel Clase closed and earned the save for the Guardians while Eli Morgan (3-1) earned the win and Austin Pruitt (1-5) had to eat the A's loss, his fifth this season.
A's and Guardians will wrap up the series on a Thursday matinee in which JP Sears (1-4, 4.24 ERA) is expected to get the call by the former club going against Logan Allen (3-2, 3.95) on the latter's side.