Frankie Montas struck out 11 batters Monday night, the fourth double-digit strikeout game of his MLB career, but it still wasn't enough to lead the Athletics to victory.
Montas had good stuff against the Seattle Mariners, but a couple pitches cost him in the A's 4-2 loss at the Coliseum.
The Mariners, losers of six straight entering the game, aren't a powerhouse team by any stretch, though they do have two young, dangerous hitters at the top of their lineup in Jarred Kelenic and Kyle Lewis, and they got the best of Montas on this night.
With the Mariners leading 1-0, Lewis crushed a 425-foot two-run homer to left, his fourth of the season.
"I felt like I was throwing the ball well," Montas told reporters on a video conference call after the loss. "I made one mistake and that was the fastball to Lewis. He's a fastball hitter. He's always jumping on the fastball and I made a mistake and paid the price."
Two innings later, Kelenic, the Mariners' prized No. 1 prospect, crushed the second homer of his career, a 414-foot rocket to right field to stake Seattle to a 4-1 lead.
"Sometimes you make mistakes and you get away with them, sometimes you don't," manager Bob Melvin told reporters on a video conference call. "Today, his mistakes, he didn't get away with them. I think the pitch to [Mitch] Haniger that drove in the first run might have been a decent pitch, I can't see in and out from where I am. Didn't look like it was hit really hard. But the two that bit him a little bit were the fastballs that were the homers."
In six innings, Montas (5-4) allowed six hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out 11, the second most of his career. His ERA went up from 4.79 to 4.92.
Montas has the ability to be a very good pitcher, as he showed in 2019 when he had a 2.63 ERA and allowed just eight homers in 16 starts for the A's. But so far, this season is looking a lot like 2020. In 11 starts last season, he allowed 10 homers. In 10 starts this season, the 28-year-old already has allowed 11 homers.
The first-place A's (28-21) need Montas to find his 2019 form if they want to make a deep MLB playoff run in October.