Cincinnati's bandbox of a ballpark is supposed to heal whatever ails a sluggish offense, right?
Try telling that to the A's.
One strike away from being shut out for the second consecutive game, and for the third time in six games, Oakland catcher Derek Norris hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the ninth off Reds closer Aroldis Chapman to end the A's scoreless streak at 17 innings. But it was not enough as Cincinnati prevailed, 3-1.
After going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position against the Reds, the A's are now a combined 4-42 (.095) with RISP in their last six games, and they have left 34 runners on base in their last four defeats.
Reds starter Mat Latos improved to 11-3 after giving up four hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking three. Chapman and his 100-mph fastball closed it out for his 26th save.
The A's (64-48) saw their lead in the American League West fall to 1 1/2 games, pending Texas' game at the Los Angeles Angeles later Tuesday night.
Starting pitching report
For the third straight start, Dan Straily failed to go at least five innings. Trailing 2-0, the rookie right hander was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth and he dropped his fourth straight decision since the All-Star break to fall to 6-6 on the season. Straily, who was 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his two pre-All Star break starts, gave up six hits and a walk while striking out three in his 75 pitches, 48 strikes.
Jerry Blevins allowed a run, though it was unearned due to his own throwing error, in the fifth after giving up a leadoff double and throwing away Derrick Robinson's sacrifice bunt. Pat Neshek faced two batters and retired two batters. Dan Otero pitched two scoreless innings.
At the plate
Eric Sogard extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning double and, in the third, Coco Crisp tripled for the just the second time this season, his first since April 16. He had seven triples last season. The A's loaded the bases in the fifth, but Yoenis Cespedes hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice at third base. It was Norris' second career pinch-hit homer, his second-ever career pinch hit.
In the field
Jay Bruce robbed Josh Reddick of extra bases and the A's of a run with his running grab of Reddick's drive into the right-center gap to end the fourth inning. Josh Donaldson, on first with a walk, would have scored and the A's would have climbed to within 2-1 at the time.
The Reds announced a crowd of 34,640 at Great American Ball Park.
Tweet o' da game
it's a wonder how Coco flew under Al Davis' radar! #firstrounddraftpickspeed -- @DJAI_InTheMix, on Coco Crisp's, well, speed demonstration on his third-inning triple.
Out from under the specter of Biogenesis, Bartolo Colon (14-3, 2.50) will make his first start since the suspensions came down, and he was not on the list. Call it time served. The 40-year-old right hander has gone at least six innings and given up three runs or fewer in his last 15 consecutive starts, the longest such streak by an A's pitcher since "at least" 1916. Colon is 11-1 with a 1.69 ERA in that stretch. His 1.28 walks-per-nine-innings average ranks second in the American League. He will be pitching on six day's rest and is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Reds, the last in 2007. Homer Bailey (6-10, 3.55) will oppose Colon.