Athletics

Instant Replay: Manaea hit hard early, A's rally falls just short in Seattle

Instant Replay: Manaea hit hard early, A's rally falls just short in Seattle

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE — For all his mighty struggles early on, it looked like Sean Manaea might get off the hook for a loss Monday night at Safeco Field.

Instead, the A’s awakening with the bats turned out to be just a tease as they lost 6-5 to the Mariners and extended their losing streak to four.

The A’s, trailing 6-3, scored twice in the ninth but left the bases loaded as Adam Rosales took a called third strike on a full-count fastball from Tony Zych.

Manaea, after missing two starts on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, issued four walks in a nightmarish first and finished with the strangest of pitching lines: 5 innings, 2 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts.

Seattle jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, though the A’s closed to within 4-3 on homers from Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt. But Oakland’s bullpen faltered again as Liam Hendriks surrendered Kyle Seager’s two-run homer in the eighth to give the Mariners a 6-3 cushion.

The opener of this three-game series pitted two teams looking to reverse their fortunes. The Mariners were swept in four games at Toronto as their injuries continue mount. The A’s came in having surrendered three late-game leads in being swept by Texas.

The teams combined for just nine hits on a chilly night in which the temperature at first pitch was 51 degrees, the cold air sweeping through the openings underneath Safeco Field’s retractable roof.

Oakland has fallen to a season-high six games below .500 at 16-22. That includes a 5-14 road record that is the worst in the majors.

Starting pitching report:
Manaea (1-3) labored through a 38-pitch first inning in his first outing since leaving an April 26 start at Anaheim with tightness in his left shoulder. He issued four walks that inning, including two that forced in runs, and threw just nine of his first 23 pitches for strikes. Trailing 2-0 as he took the mound in the second, Manaea gave up Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer to straightaway center on a 1-2 fastball that made it 4-0.

But although the A’s bullpen was active as early as the first, Manaea steadied himself and retired nine a row from the third through the fifth and left after 88 pitches. His fastball sat between 91 and 93 and he went to a sharp slider for several of his seven strikeouts.

Bullpen report:
Frankie Montas relieved Manaea and gave manager Bob Melvin two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. But Hendriks, so dominant until this six-game road trip began, struggled for the second outing in a row. He gave up a walk and two hits in the eighth, including Seager’s two-run bomb to right-center, though one of the runs was unearned because of an error. That extended the Mariners’ lead to 6-3 and made it a much tougher comeback effort in the ninth.

At the plate:
The A’s chased Seattle closer Edwin Diaz from the game in the ninth, but they stranded nine runners and finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

True to form, the A’s did most of their damage with the long ball. Davis snapped a 12-game homerless streak when he capped a 12-pitch battle with Yovani Gallardo (2-3) by drilling a solo shot to straightaway center, his 11th on the season. An inning later, Vogt hit a two-run homer to right that gave him his first homer since Opening Night. That snapped a career-long 27-game homerless streak for Vogt, who came in hitting just .213.

They scored twice in the ninth to pull within a run on Jed Lowrie’s bases loaded walk and Davis’ run-scoring groundout.

In the field:
Chad Pinder’s throwing error in the eighth led to an unearned run on Seager’s two-run homer.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 15,431.

Up next:
Andrew Triggs (5-2, 2.21) takes the mound for Oakland and Chase De Jong (0-3, 7.85) goes for the Mariners in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. game.

 

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s gesture to take a knee during the national anthem Saturday night at the Coliseum was no knee-jerk reaction by the A’s catcher.

It was something he’s considered for a long time, balancing his own personal convictions to make a statement with how it might affect his teammates and organization.

Think it was bold of Maxwell to become the first player in baseball to kneel during the anthem, in protest of racial discrimination and the inflammatory remarks of President Trump? It took just as much guts to stand before his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and GM David Forst and explain why he felt he needed to do it.

He did so in a pregame meeting Saturday that made for a degree of discomfort in the room, but also seemed to have played out in a healthy way.

“I didn’t want them to sugarcoat or aid me when it comes to the media and their personal feelings,” Maxwell said, “because the whole point of this is the ability to protest (based on) our personal beliefs and our personal choices.”

Many athletes have been critical of the President, with things intensifying across the sports landscape Saturday after Trump, among other things, withdrew an invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House and harshly criticized athletes who have knelt during the anthem, saying they should be booted off their teams.

After blasting Trump on both Instagram and Twitter, Maxwell took the field for the anthem and took the action that will define him in the eyes of the baseball world. Maxwell had been wanting to make a statement in some way. He said he and his sister dealt with racial discrimination growing up. Watching Trump’s rally play out in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. on Friday further persuaded Maxwell to finally do so.

“This goes beyond the black community, it goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having … a racial divide in all types of people,” said Maxwell, who is African American. “It’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country and it’s basically saying it’s OK to treat people differently. And my kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause. But I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

A’s outfielder Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell during the anthem with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a show of support. Canha said he’s considered kneeling before in protest himself but had chosen not to. As he listened to Maxwell address the team, Canha wasn’t going to let his teammate make his statement on his own.

“I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that’s going on in this country right now,” Canha said. “I felt like every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed a brother today.”

Canha added that he sensed some “discomfort” in the room as Maxwell addressed the team. But he also said there was support.

“It was an open forum to ask him questions. It was as articulate as I’ve seen him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This wasn’t an emotional thing just today for him. … I think he handled it really well and everybody was comfortable after the session. I’m proud of him for the fact he went about it the way he did.”

Maxwell, who was born in Germany while his father served in the Army over there, said he will continue to kneel for the anthem. He doesn’t expect his teammates to do the same, only to stick to what they believe in.

“I have plenty of family members, including my father, who have bled for this country,” Maxwell said. “At the end of the day, this the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen. But my kneeling is what’s getting the attention because I’m kneeling for the people that don't have a voice.”

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell made history Saturday night in Oakland. The 26-year-old became the first player in big-league history to kneel during the national anthem. 

Below is the official statement from Major League Baseball:

Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together.

MLB media services contributed to this report