Athletics

Blackburn can't find rhythm against 'locked in' Mariners

Athletics

The Athletics’ woes against the Seattle Mariners in this series continued on Wednesday, and not even Paul Blackburn could turn their fortunes around.

Blackburn, who entered Wednesday’s game with a 2.26 ERA – best among A’s starters – had his worst outing of the season in a 9-0 loss at the Coliseum as the A's have dropped the first two games of the three-game set.

The 28-year-old Blackburn allowed seven runs on 10 hits in four innings, the first time all season he’s allowed more than four runs in a start.

“He didn’t have his best stuff,” manager Mark Kotsay said to reporters. “He tried to manage that lineup, to get through it. Again, they’ve got some guys hitting the ball really well. .. We made some mistakes, and they capitalized.”

Blackburn allowed single runs in each of the first three innings, but what cost him was the fifth inning when he gave up four straight hits to start the frame. 

Julio Rodriguez, who started the scoring with an RBI double in the first inning, led off the fifth with a single and then scored on a two-run homer by Jesse Winker. Eugenio Suarez then singled and then Blackburn was taken out of the game after Taylor Trammell followed that up with a double. 

“I feel like I threw some good pitches and they hit them,” Blackburn said to reporters. “And they hit the bad pitches too. Just one of those nights where they were locked in. When I had to make a pitch, I couldn't make a pitch.”

 

Blackburn didn’t think this was the worst he’s felt on the mound this year, but he couldn’t get in a rhythm and the Mariners capitalized on nearly everything he threw.

“It’s a long year,” Blackburn said. “That’s why there’s a lot of ups and downs. Today was just one of those days. Overall, I didn't feel like my stuff was terrible. It was just one of those days where they hit the good pitches I made and they also made me pay on the bad pitches I made. It’s the big leagues. Those guys are good too. It was just one of those days.”

His struggles at the Coliseum also continued. In six home starts, Blackburn is 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA, while he is 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA on the road. 

Kotsay said that Blackburn’s performance Wednesday was “not in the norm” for him this season.

“He got behind [in the count] on some guys,” Kotsay said. “They put some good at-bats together against Paul, and the result was they got him out of there a lot earlier than expected. Just overall not a great night on the mound for us.”

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After an 8-2 loss in the first game of the series on Tuesday, the A’s couldn’t muster a run on Wednesday in another lopsided defeat. The offense managed seven hits but went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

“Overall, I thought the at-bats weren’t as bad as maybe the numbers represent,” Kotsay said. “We’ll turn the page and get ready for tomorrow.”