OAKLAND — A degree of optimism permeates this A’s team due to the influx of young prospects now getting playing time.
But Tuesday night showed this is still a mistake-prone team that often is its own worst enemy. Three errors contributed to the A’s losing all of a four-run lead, and they dropped a 7-6 game in 10 innings to the Seattle Mariners to open a three-game series at the Coliseum.
Oakland led 6-2 after five innings, but the Mariners chipped away against Kendall Graveman and Oakland’s bullpen. A throwing error from Matt Chapman opened the gate to the Mariners’ tying rally in the eighth. Errors from shortstop Marcus Semien and right fielder Matt Joyce also pushed along Seattle scoring rallies.
Leonys Martin homered off Josh Smith in the top of the 10th to break a 6-6 tie. The A’s rallied in the bottom half against hard-throwing Seattle closer Edwin Diaz, but Chad Pinder struck out with two aboard and Matt Chapman flied out to right.
GRAVEMAN STILL TRYING TO FIND FORM: Kendall Graveman was better in his second start off the D.L. than his first, but the right-hander still wasn’t particularly sharp Tuesday. He went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits before leaving plenty of work for his bullpen. Seattle scored twice off him to begin the comeback from its 6-2 deficit.
30/30 VISION: Khris Davis connected for his 30th homer, an opposite-field three-run shot in the first, as part of his four**-RBI night. That made Davis the first A’s hitter in 15 years to post back-to-back 30-homer seasons. It hadn’t been done since Miguel Tejada did it three straight years from 2000-02 and Eric Chavez did it from 2001-02.
STAY A WHILE: Matt Olson was promoted from Triple-A Nashville as expected, and the rookie will platoon at first base with Ryon Healy following the trade of Yonder Alonso to these very Mariners.
It’s the sixth call-up of this season alone for Olson, but the feeling is that this promotion is a long-term one. Olson ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League with 23 homers and his on-base, slugging and OPS percentages are all up from last season. Olson entered as a defensive replacement for Healy and singled in his only at-bat in the 10th.
“I said, you could unpack your bags,” manager Bob Melvin said of his conversation with Olson. “… I think he realizes that this time he actually gets to stick around for a while, and may have to find something other than a hotel.”
ROUGH RETURN: Matt Joyce, back after a two-game suspension for directing an anti-gay slur at a fan in Anaheim, struck out in all three of his plate appearances and was replaced by pinch hitter Jed Lowrie in the ninth.
ANOTHER SHOT FOR SMITH: Chris Smith will re-enter the rotation and make Thursday’s start against Baltimore. With Daniel Gossett being sent down, the A’s have an opening on their starting staff. The team was off Monday, creating some tinkering with the rotation, and Melvin said the idea was to keep Gossett pitching on his regular turn, even if it’s in the minors.