OAKLAND – Just when the A’s offer a glimpse of the quality baseball they’re capable of, they unveil a performance like Wednesday’s.
With ace Sonny Gray dealing on the mound, their offense fired blanks in a 2-0 defeat to the Boston Red Sox. Once again, the ever-elusive second consecutive victory slipped through their fingers. The A’s have won back-to-back games just once this season – they’ve lost 9 of 11 series so far.
Gray gave them every chance to get some good vibes going. So too, did Sox starting pitcher Wade Miley, or so it seemed. The left-hander entered the day with a 6.91 ERA but blanked them over 6 2/3 innings despite issuing four walks.
Base runners weren’t a problem for the A’s. It was figuring out what to do once the bags were occupied. They finished 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.
Oakland’s struggles under the sun continued, as the A’s fell to 1-11 in day games. They’re also 1-10 in the final game of a series, and yes, those two records are related.
Starting pitching report
Gray held the A’s to three hits over seven innings, the only run off him coming when Daniel Nava’s two-out blooper in the second dropped in front of left fielder Coco Crisp for a single that scored Hanley Ramirez.
Gray struck nine and didn’t issue a single walk. He’s piled up 28 strikeouts over his past three starts combined, and Wednesday’s outing was the sixth time in eight starts that he’s surrendered one earned run or fewer. He lowered his ERA to 1.61 and continued what’s been an outstanding season so far. The only thing missing was a ‘W’, and he deserved one.
Gray’s pitch count sat at 99 when manager Bob Melvin went to the bullpen to start the eighth with his team down 1-0. Daniel Nava led off with a single against right-hander Evan Scribner. Then with one out, Scribner hit No. 9 batter Sandy Leon with an 0-2 curve, the type of mistake that’s been commonplace for the A’s relief corps and always seems to eventually haunt the team. With two on, after Mookie Betts struck out, Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder to shortstop Marcus Semien and Semien sailed a throw over the head of first baseman Mark Canha for an error that scored Nava to make it 2-0.
At the plate
The A’s simply couldn’t get anything going with the bat, finishingwith just five hits. Twice theyadvanced a runner to third base with less than two outs and couldn’t get him the final 90 feet.
In the field
Semien’s seemingly avoidable errors are really beginning to hurt the team. And though Melvin continues to back his young shortstop, it’s an issue that has yet to go away. His throwing error in the eighth was his major-league leading 11th error. As a team, the A’s now have 36 errors, also highest in the majors. And they’ve been costly, leading to 21 unearned runs, most in the American League.
The announced turnout was 22,389.
After a day off Thursday, the A’s welcome the Chicago White Sox for a weekend series. Friday’s opener -- Jesse Hahn (1-3, 4.73) vs. lefty Carlos Rodon (1-0, 2.92), 7:05 p.m. Saturday -- Jesse Chavez (1-3, 2.56) vs. lefty John Danks (1-3, 5.12), 6:05 p.m. Sunday – Scott Kazmir (2-1, 2.78) vs. Jeff Samardzija (2-2, 4.80), 1:05 p.m. All games will air on CSN California.