Straily: 'I wasn't able to command the baseball'
Mark Trumbo's two-run double in the fifth inning ended Dan Straily's night. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- For four innings Thursday night, Dan Straily was the picture of stability against the Los Angeles Angels, his outing at that point a microcosm of his last two months with the A's.
Then, just as suddenly, it all fell apart for the A's rookie right hander.
"Just out of nowhere I wasn't able to correct myself," Straily said, "and I cost us the ballgame."
Straily, who had won five straight decisions from May 21 through July 9, lost to the Angels in Anaheim on Saturday, though he technically had a quality start with two runs allowed in seven innings. The fateful fifth inning made such a designation impossible this time around.
"The first four innings, he was the guy that threw the one-hit (in seven) innings, two hits (in 6 1/3) innings his previous couple outings," said catcher Derek Norris.
"In the fifth inning he came out and it just seemed like he lost a little focus. I don't think it was anything else other than the fact that he had a long break from the previous half-inning that we had and I just think he lost a little bit of focus and that determination that we see out of him."
The A's took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth and seemed to have Angels starter C.J. Wilson on the ropes. Instead, it was Straily who would get knocked out.
The fifth began with Straily walking No. 9 hitter Erick Aybar before J.B. Shuck singled to put runners at the corners. Mike Trout then smoked a line drive to right field that was caught thanks to an acrobatic play by Gold Glover Josh Reddick, though Aybar trotted home on the sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Consecutive singles by Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton were followed by a bases-clearing double by Mark Trumbo and, just like that, Straily's night was done after five runs on seven hits and 84 pitches, 54 strikes. He struck out five and walked two but also had a costly wild pitch in his 4 1/3 innings.
"I thought he lacked a little bit of control with his fastball," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "It looked like, maybe it wasn't hitting the glove as many times as we've seen here in the past. He's been on a pretty good run and I think his fastball command just wasn't as good as we've seen."
Straily is now just 2-4 with a 6.32 ERA in nine starts against American League West teams, but 4-0 with a 2.44 ERA against everyone else. He has now lost two in a row after winning a career-best five straight.
And it all came crashing down in the fifth, when the A's needed a shutdown inning.
"If I can get through that inning somehow, who's to say I can't go out there and correct myself and keep going," Straily said. "But I wasn't able to stop the bleeding and get the job done."