O.CO COLISEUM — Each game, the A’s seem to come up with a new way to lose.
Wednesday night’s contest may have been the most difficult for fans to handle, as a Sean Doolittle ninth-inning meltdown to Texas Rangers hitters turned a 1-0 Jeff Samardzija gem into a painful 6-1 defeat.
With a 1-0 lead, Doolittle came on in the top of the ninth to seal the victory. Except he didn’t. Dolittle retired Leonys Martin to lead off the inning, then allowed the next four batters to score.
Elvis Andrus singled, and was brought home on a Rougned Odor double. Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked, bringing up J.P. Arencibia, who has struck out three times against Samardzija. Against Doolittle, he smashed a ball down the left field line to put the Rangers up 4-1.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Texas (59-92) added two more before the inning mercifully ended on a bases-loaded fly out to the right field wall by Odor, who batted twice in the inning. The A’s (83-68) went down without a fight in the bottom half of the ninth.
A dejected Doolittle (L, BS, 1-4, 2.97 ERA) said post-game:
“You look at the job Samardzija did all night long … Our defense was air-tight, Fuld got it done getting a big hit for us, putting us ahead. … [pause] I just didn’t get it done. Samardzija got it done all night. Defense got it done. Fuld got it done. I didn’t get it done.”
The loss, coupled with an Angels victory over Seattle, clinched the AL West for Los Angeles. The Royals also won, moving Kansas City into a tie for the first wild-card spot. Seattle remains two games behind Oakland and Kansas City.
The first run of the game came in the bottom half of the fifth inning. With one out in the frame, Geovany Soto drilled a double to left-center, followed by Nick Punto reaching on an infield single. After a strikeout by Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld delivered an RBI single to right, giving the A’s a 1-0 lead.
Samardzija pitched a beautiful game for the A’s. He went eight innings, allowing just four hits while striking out ten. Going back to his previous start against the White Sox, the Shark has gone 15 innings without allowing a run. He now has a career-high 16-inning scoreless streak.
The ten strikeouts by Samardzija marks the eighth time he has achieved the feat in his career, including three times this season. He exited the game after having retired the last ten batters in order.
Following the loss, Samardzija remained positive about this team’s chances:
“You’ve got to look at where we’re at as a team. If you take a step back and look at it as a whole, we’re still right where we need to be.”
The A’s have lost five of the last seven games and are now 5-14 since August 28. … Derek Norris (1-for-2, walk) is hitting .394 (13-for-33) with five doubles, a home run, and 10 RBI in 11 games against Texas this season. … Stephen Vogt pinch-hit for Norris in the eighth inning for his first at-bat since September 3. He was walked intentionally. … The Texas Rangers’ five-game winning streak matches their longest of the season. … Rougned Odor (2-for-5, two doubles) has reached safely in 15 of his last 16 games.