OAKLAND – Sean Nolin’s first start with the A’s surely is a memory that will stick with him.
If only he could delete the top of the fifth inning Sunday. That inning proved to be the A’s undoing, when the Seattle Mariners scored all three of their runs and held on to beat Oakland 3-2 and sweep a three-game series at the Coliseum.
It ran the A’s losing streak to five. With a 31-41 record at the Coliseum, the A’s have clinched a losing record at home for just the third time in the past 17 years. They made a run at the Mariners late, putting up runs in the seventh and eighth and getting the tying run to second base with two outs in the ninth. But Mark Canha hit a liner right to Seth Smith in left field for the final out.
Nolin, acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade and injured much of this season, gave up just the three runs on five hits over six innings.
A’s catcher Stephen Vogt left the game in the top of the eighth when he was struck in the groin by a foul tip. He began the game at first base and had only shifted behind the plate to start the eighth. His exit resulted in recently promoted catcher Carson Blair making his big league debut. Blair worked a walk in his first career plate appearance as part of the A’s rally in the eighth that trimmed their deficit to 3-2.
Starting pitching report
Nolin threw five very good innings in his A’s debut, but his one shaky inning was the difference maker. The Mariners broke through for three runs in the fifth to break a scoreless tie. A pair of walks issued by Nolin, to the No. 8 and 9 hitters, hurt his cause. Then Ketel Marte blooped a run-scoring single to right, Kyle Seager added a sacrifice fly and Nolin bounced a curve ball for a wild pitch that scored Shawn O’Malley to make it 3-0. Other than that patch of trouble, Nolin turned in a strong effort. The lefty went six innings, giving up three runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Rookie Ryan Dull continued to mow through hitters, striking out two in a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Dull has given up just one hit in four scoreless outings to begin his big league career. He’s struck out six and walked none over four innings pitched. Sean Doolittle also turned in another encouraging effort, pitching a scoreless ninth with one strikeout.
At the plate
The A’s got on the board in the seventh on Billy Butler’s 10th homer of the season, a shot well over the wall in center. But the A’s failed to parlay things that inning despite getting runners on the corners with one out after the homer. In the eighth, Canha led off with a single and eventually scored on Danny Valencia’s groundout. But Oakland stranded a runner on second in that inning.
In the field
Drawing a start in right in place of Reddick, Jake Smolinski delivered a strong throw to third to nail Logan Morrison in the fifth. Morrison was coasting into third while trying to advance from first on Brad Miller’s single, and the throw came in and Danny Valencia slapped a tag on Morrison, who never had a thought of sliding.
A crowd of 19,534 was in attendance on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The A’s raised $75,400, boosting the total for the annual event to more than $1.5 million raised.
The Astros arrive for a three-game series, the final trip to Oakland for the AL West leaders. Monday’s holiday opener pits Felix Doubront (2-1, 3.99 ERA) against Mike Fiers (2-0, 2.25 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. The marquee matchup awaits Tuesday, as Sonny Gray (12-7, 2.36 ERA) and former teammate Scott Kazmir (7-9, 2.50 ERA) square off at 7:05 p.m. In Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. game, Aaron Brooks (1-2, 6.91 ERA) goes for Oakland with the Astros’ starter to be announced.