Defense lets A’s down
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Everything was going according to plan. The Athletics finally got All-Star Felix Hernandez out of the game after eight brilliant innings and managed to tie the game against Seattle’s closer.
The defense let Oakland down, though, and a throwing error led to one more missed opportunity.
Franklin Gutierrez scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by A’s shortstop Cliff Pennington in the 10th inning and the Mariners held on to beat Oakland 4-2 on Tuesday night.
“He tried to stop the throw,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It was nothing Ichiro (Suzuki) did. When it came out of his glove, he knew he didn’t have a grip and it sneaks out of his hand.”
Gutierrez singled off A’s closer Andrew Bailey (0-1) leading off the inning and stole second with one out. After Suzuki walked, Brendan Ryan then hit a soft grounder to second baseman Jemile Weeks, who flipped the ball to Pennington for the force at second before Pennington’s relay sailed wide left of first.
“I tried not to throw it and I threw it away,” Pennington said. “We just can’t do that. We have to play defense behind our guys in order to win ballgames.”
The A’s have one of the top pitching staffs in the majors and they also have one of worst fielding teams, too. With two errors resulting in two unearned runs, the A’s have allowed 47 unearned runs, matching Texas for most in the majors. Their 68 total miscues are second in the AL.
“In close games defense comes up big,” Melvin said. “Errors can typically cost you games.”
A’s starter Trevor Cahill all but matched Hernandez, allowing two runs – one earned – on five hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five. He was betrayed by the fielding mistakes.
“It’s my job to keep the other team from scoring,” Cahill said. “I just have to be sharp.”
Adam Kennedy followed with an RBI double to make a winner of Brandon League (1-4), who blew his first save in 15 opportunities.
Kurt Suzuki homered for the A’s, who have lost nine of 13 since a season-best six-game winning streak.
Dustin Ackley singled and scored an unearned run in the second then homered against Cahill leading off the seventh, helping the Mariners to their third straight win.
Weeks led off the ninth with a ground-rule double and was sacrificed to third. Coco Crisp then hit a short fly to left but Carlos Peguero couldn’t get to it, allowing Weeks to score the tying run.