The A’s began Sunday with such promise, jumping on Orioles starter Chris Tillman for three runs in the top of the first.
The good vibes didn’t last long.
Kendall Graveman surrendered a career-high four home runs in just 2 2/3 innings and the Orioles went deep six times total in an 11-3 rout of the A’s in Baltimore. Manny Machado homered twice, including a late grand slam, and finished with a career-high six RBI.
So bad did it get that A’s catcher Josh Phegley found himself on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring both batters he faced to save any more wear and tear on the bullpen.
Not since 1994 had the A’s given up as many as six home runs in a single game. They dropped two of three at Camden Yards and have now lost 11 of their last 15 since they rattled off a six-game winning streak.
The most pressing immediate concern is a starting rotation now carrying a 7.16 ERA over the last 13 games. Graveman is 0-3 with a 10.53 ERA over his past three starts.
Starting pitching report
Staked to a 3-0 lead before he even took the mound, Graveman couldn’t keep the ball down in the zone and found trouble immediately. Machado drilled a two-run homer to the opposite field in the first. Pedro Alvarez and Jonathan Schoop went deep back-to-back in the second. The next inning, it was Mark Trumbo lining one out to left. That’s seven homers allowed by Graveman over his past three outings. With Jesse Hahn going to the minors Sunday morning, the A’s have some legitimate concerns in their starting rotation right now.
J.B. Wendelken, called up Sunday morning with Jesse Hahn going to the minors, made his major league debut but it was not a memorable one. He pitched a scoreless seventh but gave up Machado’s grand slam in the eighth. Phegley, representing the 10th time an Oakland position player has taken the mound, struck out Adam Jones and got a pop out from Mark Trumbo. Ryan Dull also gave up a homer and has struggled of late.
At the plate
Josh Reddick continued to be a bright spot for the A’s, going 3-for-3. He’s now gotten a hit in eight consecutive at-bats to tie an A’s franchise record. Reddick, Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso all drove in runs in the first, but the A’s couldn’t break through for any more against Chris Tillman (4-1).
In the field
The A’s didn’t commit an error in this one.
This nine-game road trip continues with three at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Sonny Gray (3-3, 4.84) will match up against Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.71) in Monday’s 4:10 p.m. opener. Tuesday – Sean Manaea (0-0, 7.20) vs. TBA, 4:10 p.m. Wednesday – TBA vs. Rick Porcello (5-1, 2.95), 4:10 p.m. The entire series will air on CSN California.