OAKLAND -- Toppling King Felix was not enough to lead the A’s to victory in the opener of Wednesday’s doubleheader. In a now familiar storyline, Oakland’s bullpen couldn’t hold a late-inning lead, and the result was an eventual 6-4 loss in 10 innings to the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum. The A’s didn’t have much time to lament the defeat, as the second game of the twin bill was set to start 30 minutes after completion of the first. They’ll be trying to avoid a four-game sweep, and they’ll also be hoping they don’t lose two players to significant injuries.
Center fielder Coco Crisp left the game with a strained neck after crashing into the wall making a catch. Then in the top of the 10th, reliever Ryan Cook left the game with an apparent arm injury of some kind after a throwing a slider and striking out Corey Hart.
Dan Otero entered with two outs and runners on the corners, and the Mariners broke a 4-4 tie as Justin Smoak’s infield chopper deflected off the glove of a leaping Daric Barton at first base. Kyle Seager followed with an RBI single to make it 6-4.
Oakland trailed 3-1 in the seventh before rallying for three runs off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and taking a 4-3 lead. But Seattle came back to tie the game in the eighth. Fernando Abad issued a one-out walk, then Luke Gregerson allowed a walk and a game-tyin single to Robinson Cano.
It was the seventh blown save of the season for the A’s.
Starting pitching report
Dan Straily went six innings and gave up three runs on three hits. A very solid line in and of itself. But home runs continue to plague the right-hander. He elevated a fastball that Corey Hart belted over the wall in left. After the A’s had tied it 1-1, Mike Zunino went down and got a breaking ball and lined it off the left field foul pole. Straily’s nine homers allowed are the most in the American League. He also walked four, with one of them leading to the run that gave Seattle a 3-1 lead in the sixth.
But all in all, Straily gave the A’s the kind of start they needed in the first game of a doubleheader.
A’s manager Bob Melvin had to use five relievers, leaving his bullpen in an interesting predicament for the nightcap.
At the plate
Perhaps the bottom of the first was an omen for the A’s eventual success off Hernandez, though they didn’t score in the inning. Coco Crisp led off with a single to left but promptly got picked off. Two more singles in the inning went to waste, but the three hits were a sign that Hernandez wasn’t in his typically dominant form against Oakland. The A’s got on the board in the fourth to tie it 1-1. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single to right and came around to score on Daric Barton’s groundout to second. A fielding error by Brad Miller helped the cause. Oakland trailed 3-1 in the seventh when they broke through for three runs on four hits off Hernandez to command a 4-3 lead. Craig Gentry’s double put two runners in scoring position. John Jaso’s single made it 3-2 and Josh Donaldson’s sacrifice fly tied it. Then Brandon Moss drove a triple to left-center to put the A’s head and drive Hernandez from the game. They missed a chance to pad their lead, however, with a runner on third and one out. Cespedes chased a slider nowhere near the strike zone for the second out, and Jed Lowrie flied out to end the inning.
In the field
Crisp made a terrific running catch to end the top of the fourth, but he slammed the back of his head into the wall on the play and was down on the ground for several minutes. He was tended to by head trainer Nick Paparesta and eventually walked off the field under his own power and was replaced by Gentry. Crisp was diagnosed with a strained neck, the A’s later announced.
The Washington Nationals visit for three games starting Friday. The matchups: Tommy Milone (0-3, 5.86) vs. Doug Fister (0-0, 0.00), 7:05 p.m.; Saturday – Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.91) vs. Tanner Roark (2-1, 4.17), 6:05 p.m.; Sunday – Scott Kazmir (4-1, 2.64) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 2.91), 1:05 p.m.