A quality pitching duel came down to the Mariners bullpen, which blew up. Again. This time, it was Carter Capps who grooved a fastball that Brandon Moss sent over the Coliseum’s centerfield wall, giving the A’s a 2-1 win Monday night in Oakland. The walk-off loss was the Mariners’ 10th this season.
A’s starter Jarrod Parker (9-6) throttled the Mariners for nine innings, in which he gave up eight hits and struck out seven. He was barely better than Seattle’s Aaron Harang, who went beyond five innings for only the second time in seven starts. He gave up one run, five hits and a walk with three strikeouts over seven innings.
Harang was replaced by Charlie Furbush, who had a 1-2-3 eighth. Capps came on in the ninth to strike out the dangerous Yoenis Cespedes, but gave up Moss’s 19th home run of the year for the A’s seventh walk-off win, touching off a big celebration at home plate and a small one in the stands, where 11,112 were said to have paid an entrance fee.
The Mariners squandered a grand chance in the eighth, when Dustin Ackley singled and made to third after Michael Saunders’ sacrifice bunt attempt was picked up by Parker and thrown past first base, Saunders holding at first. Parker made up for his error by striking out Humberto Quintero and Nick Franklin around a pop-out by Brad Miller.
In the seventh, the Mariners finally broke through against Parker. Kyle Seager singled and moved to second when right fielder Josh Reddick bobbled the ball for an error. Seager advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Kendrys Morales’ single, a two-hopper to the right field wall.
After an out, Justin Smoak singled to right, but another scoring chance was blown. Morales was thrown out at third when he was deked by Josh Donaldson’s casual pose, unaware that Reddick’s throw was on its way to nail him when he failed to slide and overran the bag.
Harang’s only slip was the fourth, when he gave up singles to Reddick and Cespedes. After a fly out moved Reddick to third, he scored when the Mariners could get only a force at second from Donaldson’s infield chopper instead of a double play.
NOTES — Acting manager Robby Thompson confirmed that Eric Wedge will return full time to the dugout when the club returns home Friday. The manager has been recovering from a mild stroke July 22. He has been given medical clearance to resume full activities . . . Michael Morse was held out Monday for the second game in a row to rest a sore left wrist. “Nothing severe,” Thompson said. “A couple swings, though, he’s kind of grimaced and held his wrist. We’ll give him another day and see where he’s at tomorrow.” Morse is batting .161 in his last 14 games since returning from the disabled list following a month-long issue with a strained hamstring.
Just how is this loss a bullpen failure? They can’t score runs. Blame interim skipper Thompson for not attempting the obvious and trying to squeeze a run in the 8th, or the hitters for not even putting a ball into play and scoring Ackley and Saunders. Given the Ms track record for extra-innings games, Capps did the team a favor by sparing the bullpen wasted innings pitched, so they’ll have a better chance tomorrow and the next day.
The weight does belong on the offense. But Capps knew the margin for error was zero. Asking a lot, yes . . .but that’s been the case the whole season.
I blame the third base coach for not telling Morales the throw was coming to third and he should have slid. I also thought a squeeze was in order in the 8th.