OAKLAND – Nothing like a left-hander to stop the A’s offense in its tracks.
A night after they homered three times and scored seven runs, the A’s couldn’t get anything going against Rockies southpaw Jorge De La Rosa in a 2-1 loss. De La Rosa fired seven shutout innings before the A’s scratched out a run against Colorado’s bullpen. That wasn’t enough on a night Oakland got some quality work on the mound too.
Chris Bassitt, filling in with Sonny Gray hospitalized by an illness, threw five strong innings. But the Rockies scored a run on a wild pitch from reliever Fernando Rodriguez in the seventh, and that proved pivotal when the A’s got their only run in the eighth to close to within 2-1.
The A’s are now 4-14 when the opponent starts a lefty. Only the Rockies themselves have fewer victories (three) in such games in all of the majors. The A’s came in hitting just .242 against lefties compared to .266 against right-handers.
They mustered just six hits and went down in order against LaTroy Hawkins in the bottom of the ninth to end it.
Starting pitching report:
For a guy called up from Triple-A on short notice, Bassitt turned in a commendable effort in his first start with the A’s. He retired his first 10 hitters and held the Rockies to one run over five innings, allowing five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. The zero in the walk column was big for a pitcher who issued nine free passes over 10 2/3 innings in his previous stint with Oakland this year. All five of those previous appearances were out of the bullpen.
The only damage off him came in the fifth. After allowing two singles to open the inning, Bassitt retired Brandon Barnes on a liner to center, then struck out D.J. Lemahieu. But with a 1-2 count on Charlie Blackmon, Bassitt hung a curve and Blackmon served it into right center for an RBI single.
Bassitt, one of four players acquired from the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija trade, showed some fire on the mound too. He was particularly pumped in the fourth, when he stranded two runners by striking out Wilin Rosario on a 97 mile-per-hour fastball to end that threat. Manager Bob Melvin pulled Bassitt after just 84 pitches, but surely the A’s saw enough to consider Bassitt an option should Gray not be able to make his next scheduled start Sunday against the Mariners.
Fernando Rodriguez relieved Bassitt and struck out the side in the sixth. It was no easy feat, coming against Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez. But in the seventh, with two outs and runners on the corners, Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch that brought home a run to extend Colorado’s lead to 2-0.
At the plate:
The A’s had a terrific chance in the sixth, with runners on the corners and no outs. On Ben Zobrist’s slow grounder to third, Billy Burns got hung up between third and home. The rundown ended with Burns and Vogt both standing at third. Vogt was ruled out, and it all worked out well for the A’s with men on second and third, one out and the speedy Burns still at third. But after Butler was intentionally walked to load the bases, Josh Phegley struck out. Brett Lawrie, with a 3-1 count, chased a pitch out of the strike zone and hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Butler’s RBI single in the eighth got the A’s on the board in the eighth to cut it to 2-1.
In the field:
Neither team committed an error.
A crowd of 19,206 was on hand.
The A’s send Jesse Hahn (5-6, 3.47) to the mound in Wednesday’s 12:35 p.m. game, with Chad Bettis (4-2, 3.56) going for the Rockies.