Instant Replay: Bullpen squanders lead in A's 4-3 loss to Royals

Instant Replay: Bullpen squanders lead in A's 4-3 loss to Royals
July 6, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Seth Smith is tagged out at home by Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the second inning of Saturday's game. (AP)

A sloppy game in the field and a seeming lack of hustle on the basepaths cost the A's Saturday in Kansas City as they dropped a 4-3 game to the Royals.

Oakland committed three errors -- two of which would result in runs for the Royals -- and Yoenis Cespedes probably could have scored from first base when Josh Donaldson's high pop up with two out in the third inning fell in between first baseman Eric Hosmer, second baseman Miguel Tejada and right fielder David Lough for a hit.

The Royals' six hits came from the 6, 7, 8 and 9 spots in their lineup.

As such, the A's (51-37) fell back into a virtual tie with Texas in the American League West as the Rangers have a night game against Houston.

Starting pitching report
Pitching for the first time since suffering a cramp in/strain of his right hamstring last Saturday, Jarrod Parker looked to be favoring his leg early, especially when he committed an error failing to field cleanly Alex Gordon's weak comebacker to lead off things in the bottom of the first inning. Parker also threw a ball away trying to pick off a runner and yet, he still was in position to win the game. Alas, he tired in the seventh and the bullpen failed him. Parker did not receive a decision in being charged with three runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings, on five hits and three walks in his 101 pitches, 60 of which were strikes. He struck out four.

Bullpen report
Left-hander Jerry Blevins walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to load the bases, then gave up a game-tying sacrifice fly out before giving way to Ryan Cook, who got the final out of the seventh before running into all sorts of trouble with two out in the eighth -- an error, two walks and a seeing-eye single up the middle -- and giving up an unearned run to absorb the loss and fall to 1-2. Sean Doolittle struck out Alex Gordon to end the inning with the bases loaded after falling behind 3-and-0.

At the plate
Josh Donaldson made his final case for the American League All-Star team with his 15th home run of the season, a solo shot that gave the A's a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning, and two RBI. The homer came on an 0-and-1 offering from Royals starter Ervin Santana, a 94-mph fastball, and went over the fence in left field. Ten of Donaldson's home runs have gone to left, with two to center and three to right. His first RBI of the game came on a pop up that fell behind first base in the third inning -- it was his 100th base hit of the season -- and he was the only A's batter with multiple hits. Josh Reddick, meanwhile, singled in the second to knock in a run and extend his career high for reaching base to 15 games.

In the field
It was more gag reel than highlight reel and it ended up costing the A's a run. Jarrod Dyson led off the third for the Royals by attempting a bunt, but the ball popped up foul behind the plate and as catcher John Jaso turned for it, he seemed to have a beat on the medium fly…until the sun got in the way, and Jaso threw both hands over his head in covering up for safety. The ball fell harmlessly to the grass. Three pitches later, Dyson singled. After stealing second, Dyson went to third on Parker's throwing error trying to pick him off at second and then scored on Billy Butler's ground out and Kansas City pulled to within 2-1. The A's committed three errors.

Attendance
The Royals announced a crowd of 16,606 at Kauffman Stadium.

Tweet o' da game
crisp needs to move out of center. That arm scares no one. -- @StewWars

Up next
A.J. Griffin (6-6, 3.95 ERA) has faced the Royals once in his career, on May 19, and did not earn a decision in the A"s 4-3 victory after giving up three runs in six innings. He will be opposed by right-hander Luis Mendoza (2-4, 4.41), who is 0-2 in six appearances, three starts, with a 3.31 ERA against the A's in his seven-year career.

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