The Oakland A’s got beat by their own game.
The long ball was the key to the Tampa Bay Rays advancing to the American League Division Series on Oct. 3rd.
Four home runs, and two by Yandy Diaz kept the Rays ahead of Oakland the entire game.
The A’s 5-1 loss to the Rays began when Sean Manaea got off to a bad start, who saw his night unravel quickly as he gave up three home runs. Oakland had to rely on their bullpen earlier than expected. Diaz homered off Manaea twice in both the first and third frames.
Manaea allowed four runs over two innings pitched after not allowing any in the first four innings in his five previous starts.
Right-handed batters went 4-for-8 with three home runs against Manaea after he held righties to a .129 batting average (8-for-62) in his previous starts. The A’s now own a nine-game losing streak in winner-take all post-season games — the longest streak in Major League history.
“This one sucks… I don’t know how to describe it,” said Manaea. “This one is solely on me. I had one job and I did very poorly and let everyone down. This sucks. I can learn from this and move on.”
Diaz led off the first home run with a solo shot off the wall before Manaea struck out the next three batters. Matt Duffy led off the frame with a single in the second and Avisall Garcia took Manaea deep to center field for a two-run blast.
By the third, Diaz led off the inning with his second home run of the night. He knocked Manaea out of the game and the bullpen took over. Manaea tossed two innings, allowed four hits, struck out five and gave up three home runs.
“I think we got beat at our own game,” Marcus Semien said. “They hit the long ball and they throw good in the bullpen. A tough night to play from behind. They had good pitching, they hit the ball out of the ballpark, and the way they played… that’s what we did to teams a lot… and it was tough to beat them.”
Semien recorded the lone run of the game. He has scored 123 times in the regular season, tying Reggie Jackson (1969) for most in a single season in Oakland A’s history. Semien put the weight on his shoulders, bottom of the third. A throwing error by third baseman Michael Brosseau put him on base. He advanced to third on the error and Ramon Laureano’s sacrifice fly drove him in to make it a 4-1 game.
The Rays weren’t done yet, Tommy Pham went yard in the fifth to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-1. Oakland had a few opportunities but failed to drive in any runs. Charlie Morton walked two and gave up a single to load the bases in the first. But Jurickson Profar flew out to end the threat.
Morton did not allow an earned run in five innings pitched with four strikeouts. Morton entered Wednesday’s game with a 1.65 ERA at the Coliseum. He is now the only pitcher in MLB history with three wins in winner-take all games.
“We’ve lost the last two with this group here,” said Morton. “So it’s a different group every year. I don’t think they’re too wound up about that. Get into this Wild Card game and a lot of times it comes down to pitching and timely hitting.”