Baseball is a game of inches.
Unfortunately for the A’s, those inches stacked up against them, as a series of close plays did not go in their favor resulting in a 5-4 11-inning loss at the hands of the Mariners.
“There were so many things that we felt didn’t go our way, but we were still right there the whole game. Hopefully we can come back tomorrow and have those things go our way,” said Sonny Gray.
Grey turned in another excellent start on the afternoon, his one blemish being a solo home run allowed while lasting 7.1 innings.
After the A’s ace surrendered a base hit to his last batter faced in the eighth inning, Eric O’Flaherty entered the game and seemingly got out of the jam to end the inning, after inducing a comebacker to start a 1-6-3 double play.
Ah, yes. Back to the inches.
The throw to Marcus Semien pulled him towards third base, and he one-hopped the toss to first which Mark Canha could not scoop out. The Mariners then challenged to see if Semien tagged second before attempting the throw. Both runners were ruled safe, and two batters later Nelson Cruz hit a two-out towering 3-run home run.
In the bottom half of the previous inning, after taking a one-run lead, Bob Melvin rolled the dice by calling for a suicide squeeze with catcher Josh Phegley sprinting home on a bunt off the bat of Tyler Ladendorf. In a bang-bang play at the plate Phegley was ruled out after review by, you guessed it, just inches.
“He did his job[Ladendorf], and I did mine… I made it close,” said Phegley.
The Coliseum was rocking in anticipation of the celebratory walk-off pie in the tenth-inning after a base hit from Ben Zobrist, and a carrying deep fly ball to the left-centerfield alley off the bat of Ike Davis appeared to quench their temptations.
However, the powerful first baseman came up just short of a game-winning home run as the ball found the elevated part of the fence and bounced back into the field of play.
Yep, just inches short.
Hustling around third base Zobrist was waved home to score the game winning run, the only thing that could deny him was a flawless relay from the Mariners.
After another close play at the plate the A’s came up just… well you get it.
The Mariners broke through in the top half of the eleventh inning to take a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish.
Over a 162-game season these things usually even out, but on Saturday afternoon the inches added up to an Athletics defeat.
Next up in the series finale will be Jesse Hahn (0-1, 4.50) taking the hill looking to get the A’s back in the win column. He will be opposed by Felix Hernandez (1-0, 1.29) with first pitch scheduled for 1:05.
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