OAKLAND – A’s manager Bob Melvin talks often of his desire for his team to play better in front of the home fans.
This 11-game stretch at the Coliseum provides that opportunity. But so far, the A’s longest homestand of the season has been marked by their woefully poor offense.
They mustered just one hit in a 2-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians before a fireworks night crowd that was waiting for something – anything -- worth cheering for when the A’s came to bat.
In dropping the first two of this four-game set, the A’s have totaled just two runs and three hits. That’s a nice little scoring rally if you’re talking about one inning. Stretch it over two games, and it’s downright ugly. And it goes beyond Ben Zobrist not being around to anchor the No. 3 spot in the batting order.
The A’s scratched out their only run in the third, and it came via an error, as Indians third basman Giovanny Urshela mishandled Marcus Semien’s grounder that allowed Mark Canha to score from third.
As it turned out, Cleveland wound up tying it on an error as well, when Semien threw errantly to first with two outs and a runner on third in the seventh. Michael Bourn’s RBI double off Edward Mujica in the ninth snapped the tie.
Starting pitching report
Graveman deserved a better fate, lasting 6 2/3 innings and giving up just an unearned run. He didn’t get the victory, but it was an important bounce-back effort for the rookie. He entered having gone 0-3 over his past three starts, giving up 14 runs in that span. It was a different story Friday. The sinkerballer gave up five hits and generally avoided the barrel of the bat. He struck out six and walked two.
The unearned run in the seventh snapped a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings for Oakland’s pitching staff.
Mujica, the recently anointed closer after Tyler Clippard was dealt, came on in the eighth and kept the Indians off the board. But he allowed Lonnie Chisenhall’s single in the ninth, and after a stolen base, Bourn cracked a ground-rule double to center to score him.
At the plate
Eric Sogard’s single to right in the third accounted for Oakland’s only hit. Melvin continues shuffling his batting order to find one that works. The results haven’t been encouraging the past two nights.
In the field
The good – Billy Burns raced back and hauled in Lonnie Chisenhall’s deep drive as he crashed into the wall in center.
The bad – Semien couldn’t finish the seventh when Graveman got the ground ball he needed. With runners on second and third and the A’s leading 1-0, Giovanny Urshela hit a two-bouncer to the left side. Semien charged it and made an on-the-run throw that pulled Ike Davis off the bag. Urshela was safe and the tying run came across the plate. Semien has enjoyed a solid stretch in the field of late – he gone 14 games in a row without an error – but that play needed to be made.
A crowd of 28,152 showed up on 90’s Fireworks Night. Yes, they were summoned to do the Macarena. For better or worse, many fans obliged.
The A’s get their first look at one of their recent trade acquisitions, as Aaron Brooks (0-0, 6.23) will take the mound in Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. game. Cody Anderson (2-2, 3.26) will go for the Indians.