OAKLAND — After a career-best effort his last time out, Zach Neal found the going rougher Sunday against the Mariners.
Seattle got to the A’s right-hander early, then Kyle Seager did more damage off the bullpen as the A’s lost 8-4 and dropped the rubber match of this three-game series. Oakland got three homers, including the 30th of the season from Khris Davis, but it was offset by a four-RBI day from Seager, as the Mariners won for the fifth time in six games at the Coliseum this season.
Neal was coming off a 5 1/3-inning effort against Baltimore in which he held the Orioles to one run, his best outing yet as a major leaguer. Sunday marked his third start out of 13 major league appearances. Both of his defeats as a starer have come against the Mariners; he gave up seven runs in a May 25 game at Safeco Field.
Adam Lind went deep off him in the second for the game’s first run. The Mariners added two more in the third for a 3-1 lead, then Neal caught a bad break in the fourth. It appeared he’d coaxed an inning-ending double play from Mike Zunino, only the Mariners challenged whether A’s second baseman Tyler Ladendorf had actually touched the bag before throwing to first. They won the challenge, Dae-Ho Lee was ruled safe at second, the A’s defense was called back on the field, and Neal gave up Shawn O’Malley’s run-scoring single on his first pitch after play resumed.
The A’s would scratch their way back into it offensively but they had too much ground to make up. They trailed 4-1 when Seager cleared the bases in the sixth with a three-run double off Daniel Coulombe for a 7-1 Seattle advantage.
The A’s finished 4-6 on this 10-game homestand that leads into their six-game road trip against the Rangers and White Sox that begins Monday.
Starting pitching report:
It wasn't a surprise which Mariner struck first against Neal. Lind pounded a 1-2 pitch into the second deck in right to lead off the second. That made him 3-for-3 lifetime against Neal — all homers. He would line out sharply to left field in his next at-bat and walk in his final plate appearance against the right-hander. Neal (2-2) was charged with five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Coulombe went 2 2/3 innings in relief of Neal, giving up the big three-run hit to Seager, and Chris Smith handled a scoreless top of the ninth.
At the plate:
Davis became the first A’s hitter to crack 30 home runs since Brandon Moss finished with 30 in 2013. His two-run shot to left-center in the sixth also gave him his third homer in the past three days, the second time in Davis’ career that he’s homered three games in a row. The first came May 26-28, 2014 while he was with Milwaukee. Ryon Healy jumped on a hanging off-speed pitch from Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc (2-0) and homered to left to tie it 1-1 in the second. The A’s final run came on a solo homer from Brett Eibner in the seventh, his second long ball since being called up from the minors.
In the field:
A’s manager Bob Melvin mentioned earlier in the homestand how Eibner had yet to really be tested in the outfield since coming to Oakland. He flashed some good range while playing right field in the fourth, racing over to the gap to haul in Leonys Martin’s drive that could have went for extra bases. Davis and Jake Smolinski, starting in center, also turned in fine diving catches.
The announced turnout was 21,203.
The A’s make their second trip to Arlington in the past 19 days. They play three against the division-leading Texas Rangers. Monday — Ross Detwiler (1-0, 2.13) makes his second start for the A’s vs. lefty Martin Perez (7-8, 4.22), 5:05 p.m. Tuesday — Andrew Triggs (0-1, 5.50) vs. Lucas Harrell (1-0, 5.74), 5:05 p.m. Wednesday — Sean Manaea (4-7, 4.57) vs. Yu Darvish (3-3, 2.77), 5:05 p.m. All three games will air on CSN California.