Instant Replay: Early errors prove costly, A's blanked by Astros

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Instant Replay: Early errors prove costly, A's blanked by Astros

BOX SCORE

The A’s suffered a loss Monday that featured a couple costly defensive miscues, some squandered offensive opportunities and a starting pitcher leaving because of an injury.

That’s not the kind of script that leads to success, and unfortunately for the A’s it’s not the first time such a scenario has played out in 2016.

The Astros, scrapping to keep pace in the American League Wild Card race, rang up a 6-0 win in the opener of this three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Oakland mustered just four hits and couldn’t carry over the momentum from a seven-run output in Sunday’s series-clinching victory at St. Louis. Third baseman Ryon Healy committed back-to-back errors that contributed to Houston’s two-run second inning that gave the home team all the runs it would need.

A’s starter Sean Manaea departed in the fourth inning with what was diagnosed as a strained muscle in his upper back. There was no immediate word on the seriousness of the injury.

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Starting pitching report:
Manaea wasn’t helped by the Healy errors, both of which came with two outs and put him in a bases-loaded situation. But the rookie left-hander didn’t help himself when he followed up by issuing consecutive walks that forced in the game’s first two runs. It wasn’t apparent to the naked eye when exactly Manaea injured himself prior to leaving.

Bullpen report:
Chris Smith did well when called upon on short notice, eating up 2 2/3 innings. He allowed Jose Altuve’s solo homer in the sixth. He struck out five after relieving Manaea. Smith started the seventh by giving up a double to Teoscar Hernandez, walking Jake Marisnick and giving up a single to George Springer. J.B. Wendelken relieved Smith and promotely gave up a two-run single to rookie Alex Bregman. Following a double play, Carlos Correa knocked in Springer with a single to right. All three runs were charged to Smith.

At the plate:
The A’s had their best chances in the fifth and sixth to jump back in the game. They loaded the bases in the fifth with one out, but Coco Crisp and Danny Valencia both went down on strikes. In the sixth, with the score still 2-0, Oakland put runners on the corners with one out but Yonder Alonso bounced into a 1-6-3 double play to douse that rally.

In the field:
Healy has impressed with the glove since coming up from the minors, but he had a rough night Monday. He mishandled Marwin Gonzalez’s bouncer to his right, then couldn’t come up with Teoscar Hernandez’s grounder to his left, opening the door to the Astros’ first scoring rally.

Attendance:
18,613

Up next:
The Astros’ Collin McHugh (8-10, 5.01) has been very solid, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his past 18 outings. He’ll take the mound Tuesday with Kendall Graveman (10-8, 3.97) going for the A’s. First pitch is 5:10 p.m.

Manaea felt 'little sharp pain', but status of shoulder not immediately known

Manaea felt 'little sharp pain', but status of shoulder not immediately known

ANAHEIM — Sean Manaea is hopeful his left shoulder injury isn’t serious, but the A’s likely won’t have a full read on the starter’s condition for a couple days.

As of Wednesday night, no MRI was scheduled after Manaea left after just two innings of an eventual 8-5 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels with tightness in his shoulder.

“I felt it a little bit in the bullpen,” Manaea said. “I thought it was just one of those days where it took me longer to warm up, and that just wasn’t the case. It’s just really unfortunate.”

Just as the A’s are about to welcome Kendall Graveman back to the active roster Thursday, when he starts the series finale at Angel Stadium, and just as it appears Sonny Gray might be ready to come off the disabled list following one more rehab start, the A’s are hoping they don’t see Manaea subtracted from their rotation for any period of time.

Manager Bob Melvin said it was the top of Manaea’s shoulder that was bothering him.

“The velo was down, and it didn’t make sense to have him keep pitching,” Melvin said. “But we won’t know anything probably for a day or two, how he feels.”

Once he started throwing in the game, Manaea said he felt “kind of a little sharp pain. I mean, it’s nothing serious. I’ve dealt with it before and it only took me a few days to get back on the mound. To me, I’m not really worried about it.”

The pitcher added that he experienced a similar situation with his shoulder while a minor leaguer in Kansas City’s organization, toward the end of spring training, and he missed minimal time.

Things didn’t get better for the A’s (10-11) after Manaea exited, as they struck out 13 times and played sloppy defensively in dropping their third in a row. Catcher Stephen Vogt couldn’t handle Ryan Dull’s glove flip to the plate on a seventh-inning squeeze play, ending a streak of six errorless games for Oakland, but Melvin can live with occasional physical misplays. More problematic were occasions when right fielder Matt Joyce and center fielder Jaff Decker both seemed caught by surprise to see Angels runners take off for an extra base. Whether it was a lack of communication from infielders or the outfielders themselves needing to be more aware, the A’s can’t afford those kinds of mistakes.

“As a group, we can’t let that happen,” Melvin said. “We talk about it in advance meetings the way these guys run the bases. It’s not something we can do and expect to beat this team.”

Added Vogt: “We were on our heels quite a bit. This was obviously not the prettiest baseball game we’ve played.”

Instant Replay: Manaea hurt in A's 8-5 loss to Angels

Instant Replay: Manaea hurt in A's 8-5 loss to Angels

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM – The A’s endured one of those nights Wednesday when the scoreboard couldn’t convey the extent of their blues.

The tone of an 8-5 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels was set early, when starting pitcher Sean Manaea left after two innings with what was announced as tightness in his throwing shoulder.

From there, things gradually unraveled as the A’s lost their third in a row and took on what looks to be another injury to a key player. The seriousness of Manaea’s injury wasn’t immediately known, but his early exit added to the recent run of medical misfortune, as center fielder Rajai Davis, shortstop Marcus Semien and starter Kendall Graveman have all hit the disabled list over the past 12 days.

Graveman will be activated Thursday and start against the Angels, but Manaea’s condition will loom large as the 25-year-old lefty is considered a foundation piece for the A’s, now and for the future.

The A’s trailed 4-3 in the seventh when the Angels pulled away with four runs off Ryan Dull. Matt Joyce’s two-run homer in the eighth pulled them closer but they lost for the second night in a row at Angel Stadium and will have to win Thursday night to avoid a sweep. Wednesday’s loss dropped them back below .500 at 10-11.

Starting pitching report:
It was obvious early that something was bothering Manaea. His fastball, which usually sits in the low 90’s and gets into the mid-90’s, was hovering in the 88-89 range. The A’s led 2-0 before the Angels struck for three runs in the second. Danny Espinosa and Martin Maldonado each delivered RBI doubles that landed just past the diving reach of right fielder Matt Joyce and center fielder Jaff Decker, respectively. Another run scored on Cameron Maybin’s single.

Bullpen report:
Frankie Montas gave up a run over 2 1/3 innings after being called into early duty when Manaea got hurt. Dull, trying to keep it a 4-3 game, did not have his command in the seventh. He threw a wild pitch, hit Danny Espinosa with a 1-2 pitch and then allowed Maybin’s two-run single that keyed Los Angeles’ four-run seventh.

At the plate:
It was a big night for Yonder Alonso, who had a two-run single in the first and then homered in the sixth to pull Oakland within 4-3. Alonso already has four homers, putting more than halfway to his 2016 total of seven in the season’s first month. The A’s struck out 13 times, giving them 24 strikeouts over the first two games of this series.

In the field:
It took until the seventh inning for the A’s to be charged with an error that snapped their streak of six consecutive errorless games. Stephen Vogt couldn’t hold on to Dull’s glove flip on Martin Maldonado’s squeeze bunt. But even before then, this wasn’t a sharp defensive effort. Joyce got caught off guard in the fourth when Maybin tagged up and made it to second on a fly to right. Joyce’s gesturing afterward seemed to suggest nobody was letting him now the runner was tagging. An inning later, Decker seemed stunned as the lumbering Albert Pujols went first to third on Andrelton Simmons’ single.

Attendance:
The announced crowd was 30,248.

Up next:
Kendall Graveman (2-0, 2.00) is set to come off the D.L. on Thursday and make his first start since April 14, when he was lost to a strained right shoulder. He’ll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 4.76), who took the Opening Night loss against the A’s at the Coliseum when he allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.