Oakland – It was almost another heroic comeback night but back-to-back doubles in the eighth to cut the lead to one was just not enough for the A’s. The Tampa Bay Rays insurance run in the ninth more than secured their 5-3 win over Oakland.
Matt Chapman doubled to led off the frame and Matt Olson drove in Chapman with a RBI double. The A’s had a chance to turn things around with the 4-3 lead. But Khris Davis grounded out and Ramon Laureano struck out to end the inning.
The night had its fair share of ups and downs. Davis led off the sixth with a single. Jurickson Profar doubled and Davis was waved home by the third base coach, Matt Williamson. Davis was out at the plate and Oakland challenged the call.
“We were trying to get some opportunities to score a run where in that game we weren’t really getting too many opportunities,” said A’s manage Bob Melvin on Davis being waved in. “So when he sent him I was all for it.”
Tanner Anderson pitched two solid innings before Oakland gave up a few errors in the third. The Rays capitalized off those mistakes but the A’s kept the runs down to two. Joey Wendle led off the frame with a walk and Guillermo Heredia was safe at first after grounding into a into a force out.
Brandon Lowe followed with a doubled and advanced to third on a fielding error by center fielder Ramon Laureano. Heredia scored making it a 1-0 game. A pass ball by catcher Josh Phegley, scored in Lowe extending the Rays lead 2-0. Ji-Man Choi then singled to right and Austin Meadows singled advancing Choi to third with two outs. Travis d’Arnaud grounded out to end the inning.
“My strength is getting weak contact and getting the defense involved,” Anderson said. “They started to hit some balls and unfortunately they just weren’t hitting them soft and easy for the defense to make plays.”
Oakland cut that lead in half at the bottom of the third when Olson went deep to center field on a 2-2 pitch. It was Olson’s tenth homer of the season. But by the fourth Tampa added another run when Heredia grounded into his second force out of the game, Kevin Kiermaier scored making it 3-1.
The A’s clapped back when Laureano recored this 12th homer after leading off the inning with a solo shot to left center field. As close as they came in each inning, Oakland’s offense struggled to score runs. Marcus Semien reached first on a fielding error by third baseman Joey Wendle to led off the fifth.
Chapman grounded into a double play. While Olson singled on a line drive to right field, he tried to advance to second but Heredia threw a bomb to shortstop Willy Adames for the out. Semien snapped a 18-game hitting streak reaching base just once tonight.
“The Rays are tough. They never give you the same look,” said Semien. “You face a bunch of different guys. We just have to do a better job of doing out homework on each guy.”
Tampa did their job throwing everyone off by using their bullpen. Seven different pitchers through nine frames with Emilio Pagan recording his fourth save to secure their win. Both Lowe and Willy Adames added some fire to the Rays offense to end Oakland’s four-game winning streak.
Oakland A’s starter Frankie Montas has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. Montas was on his way to his best start of his career with a 2.70 ERA and 97 strikeouts. He will be eligible to return in September but not be available for the postseason shall the A’s advance.
Statement from the A’s on Montas suspension.
“The A’s were disappointed upon learning of this suspension. We fully support MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and we will welcome Frankie back after the discipline has been served.”
“It was a shock to everybody today. We met as a team and Frankie spoke,” said manage Bob Melvin. “It was very remorseful. He’s going to accept what he has to deal with and he’s feels bad about it.
As a team we went through some adversity last year, this is a little bit different as far as that goes but I don’t think it takes away from the fact that we still expect to go out there and win. Someone else will get an opportunity. Unfortunately he was guy that everyone was pretty close to here and a guy who performed really well.”