OAKLAND –- The A’s took all the suspense out of Friday’s game against Seattle.
Too bad that wasn’t their goal.
Looking to keep the game tight with a shot to pull out a win in the late innings, the A’s let things get out of hand fast in a 9-5 loss to the Mariners before a sold-out Coliseum crowd.
Nelson Cruz and Brad Miller each connected for two-run homers off Evan Scribner in the top of the eighth, when the Mariners scored five times to break open a 4-3 game. Seattle hit four two-run homers total, with right-hander Jesse Chavez (4-8) also surrendering two to Logan Morrison and Seth Smith.
The A’s have seen too many games get away from their bullpen, too many innings mushroom into disasters. With the home team looking to leapfrog the Mariners in the standings, the A’s instead let Seattle tie this four-game series at one apiece.
The festive atmosphere of a fireworks night apparently doesn’t agree with the A’s. They’re 0-3 this season on such nights.
All the in-game fireworks came courtesy of Mariners hitters, and that spelled bad news for the A’s.
Starting pitching report
One area where Jesse Chavez has excelled this season is keeping the ball in the park. But two pitches contributed to the storyline Friday night. Morrison jumped on a first-pitch offering in the top of the third and crushed a two-run homer that cleared the center field wall with room to spare. That cut the A’s 3-0 cushion to 3-2. In the sixth, Kyle Seager singled with two outs. Then Chavez ran the count full on former Athletic Seth Smith, who turned on a fastball and hit another two-run shot to right, giving Seattle the lead.
Chavez entered the night allowing just 0.50 homers per nine innings, the fourth-best rate in the AL. He went 6 1/3 innings Friday, allowing four runs on nine hits.
Scribner’s penchant for allowing the long ball continues to be a problem. He’s allowed nine homers altogether, which leads all AL relievers. Manager Bob Melvin talked before the game of how his relief corps perhaps was settling certain roles for certain pitchers. But Friday night was a big step in the wrong direction.
At the plate
The A’s struck for three runs in the second to take an early lead off J.A. Happ (4-5). Mark Canha had a run-scoring single for one of his three RBI. Marcus Semien brought a run homer with a grounder, and Billy Burns delivered an RBI double. But the A’s didn’t break through again until the ninth. Down 9-3, Canha doubled down the left-field line to bring home two.
In the field
The A’s committed two errors. One came on Semien’s errant throw to first, his major league-high 26th error. Vogt misplayed a sharp grounder in the eighth as part of Seattle’s five-run rally.
The A’s drew their second sellout — 35,067 — for the holiday fireworks night.
Kendall Graveman (5-4, 3.47) has posted the AL’s sixth-best ERA – 2.01 — in eight starts since coming back from the minors. He draws a tough assignment in Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game in Felix Hernandez (10-4, 3.05), who is tied for the league lead in victories.