So close, yet so far away... The Oakland Athletics (25-64) could defeat the Detroit Tigers (38-48) for the third time in a row on Thursday, falling 9-0 to the hosts and short of completing their second sweep of the season.
This series, honestly, had it all. It started with an extra-innings, razor-thin victory by the A's on Tuesday with a 1-0 win in the 10th inning. It was followed by a 12-3 trouncing of the Tigers by the A's two days ago. And finally, it ended with Detroit celebrating its own particular party on Thursday.
The Tigers wrapped up things pretty much by the end of the fourth frame if not earlier on the day. Nothing worked for the A's, from rookie Hogan Harris (2-3) starting and allowing a career-high seven runs through five-and-change innings of play, to all hitters failing to score a single RBI nor get on base until the third stanza.
Aledmys Diaz's single in the top of the 3rd inning opened the hit column for Oakland, but that's all your men did then and there. Brent Rooker added one more single in the 4th, Jordan Diaz did the same in the 5th and 7th innings, and the A's failed to hit at least two pitches in the same half-inning for the full matchup on Thursday.
There isn't a lot of fancy stuff worth discussing about this no-show from the A's. Everybody stepped up to the plate three times except starting catcher Manny Piña, who got replaced by Shea Langeliers late. Kudos to Diaz for getting the lone multi-hit line of the matinee for the Athletics.
Other than that, almost all starters donning Oakland's threads stroke out once against the Tigers on Thursday, nobody walked, and all of them were rather bad in what seemed like a day off for them all.
Harris closed his 4.2-inning outing by allowing seven runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out six hitters. I guess that latter bit is a kinda-positive one, considering Harris' career-best SO figure is at seven (vs. Philadelphia a few weeks ago).
Rico Garcia entered the game in relief of Harris but didn't fare any better, allowing two runs on four hits, one of those a homer. Richard Lovelady pitched for the first time since getting back from IL throwing seven pitches and removing two Detroit batters.
Jace Peterson (yes, that Jace Peterson) pitched the eighth and removed the side cleanly. Perhaps that's the last thing you'd expect to watch happen in this game, but hey, remember it's the A's!
Three more games in the pre-ASB schedule, with the first one taking place on Friday inside Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox (45-43). The A's are expected to throw rookie Luis Medina (2-7, 6.37 ERA) to the wolves and the Sox could start lefty Brennan Bernardino (1-0, 2.70).