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A’s fall in 11 after bullpen once again unable to hold late lead

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The A’s scored all four of their runs Friday night in the second inning. Detroit finally chipped away at the early deficit in the seventh inning, eventually erasing it in the eighth after back-to-back two-run innings before an eventual 5-4 11-inning victory.

Once again, the Oakland bullpen was unable to hold a lead. But after sealing a victory that began on May 19 Friday afternoon, the A’s (82-59) lost just a half-game each to Tampa Bay (84-59) and Cleveland (82-60), each of which won earlier in the day. The A’s keep their position as the second Wild Card team.

Paul Blackburn (L, 0-2, 13.50 ERA) was tasked with the top of the 11th inning, surrendering two hits and the winning run. This following a pair of runs tabbed to the record of Jake Diekman and a fifth blown save served up by Lou Trivino.

Bob Melvin said his club was down a couple of relievers:

“You do the best you can with what you have on a particular day. In Lou’s case, it was a ground ball to the right side. It wasn’t even hit hard. He makes a good pitch and sometimes you get a little unlucky.”

Dawel Lugo led off the 11th with a single to right. A sacrifice bunt by Travis Demeritte set the stage for Willi Castro, whose RBI double proved to be the winner for the late-awaking Tigers (42-98).

Melvin believed it was going to be a big offensive day after the second inning but said they didn’t have the at bats they normally do:

“We just didn’t have the at bats we normally do. Doesn’t happen often with us.”

Seth Brown and Jurickson Profar both hit singles to right field to get the second inning started. Ramon Laureano‘s first at-bat since July 28 (shin) ended in a hit-by-pitch, and Josh Phegley made the rally count with a two-run double. 

Marcus Semien walked to reload the bases. Matt Chapman walked to bring in the A’s third run. Matt Olson hit a grounder to first baseman Jeimer Candelario who threw it to second but the return throw to starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull was low, giving Olson an RBI fielder’s choice.

Turnbull (ND, 3-14, 4.68) lasted just 1-2/3 innings.

For Oakland starter Homer Bailey, it was another solid effort. He lasted into the seventh inning, holding the Tigers scoreless before Christin Stewart jumpstarted his club with a two-run homer (8) in the seventh.

Melvin was happy with Bailey’s performance:

“Good fastball, good split. Actually his split not great early, it got better as we went along. Competed hard, obviously just a home run that hurt him a little bit. He was out there in the seventh inning for us on a day we need him to be out there. He pitched well and left with a lead. Did really well again.”

Joakim Soria replaced Bailey two batters after the Stewart long ball, with a runner on first and one out, and ended the threat.

Diekman came in for the eighth and had to be replaced with two outs and the bases loaded.

Trivino was immediately greeted with a two-run single three pitches into his night erasing Oakland’s early lead.

Jurcikson Profar led off the bottom of the 11th with a single, setting the stage. But three batters later, he had never moved watching the game end 90 feet from the plate.

Ramon Laureano returned from the IL on Friday after missing 32 games with a lower leg stress reaction. He was pegged during his first at bat which is the 79th time an A’s player was hit by a pitch this season, which is the most in the Majors. 

On Deck

Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.67 ERA) will face Jordan Zimmermann (1-9, 6.03 ERA) Saturday night.

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