The A’s leave Tampa Bay having lost three of four to the Rays but likely feeling like they should have won the series.
They jumped out to a three-run lead Sunday only to allow the Rays to rally back and post a 5-4 victory. The winning rally in the seventh was aided by a two-base throwing error by reliever Daniel Coulombe. That ran the A’s major league-leading error total to 62.
The ending came in extremely bitter fashion, as the A’s loaded the bases with one out but couldn’t push the tying run across against Alex Colome.
It was the second day in a row the A’s staked themselves to a 3-0 lead but couldn’t come away with a victory. They lost the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader on a walk-off hit in the 10th.
Here’s five things you need to know about the finale of this four-game series:
That’s ‘D’ for Deflating: The A’s entered Sunday having committed just three errors in their previous seven games, but a staple of this season has been the untimely —and very costly defensive mistakes — that crop up to beat them. That moment came in the bottom of the seventh. The Rays’ Mallex Smith dropped a well-placed bunt to the right side. Yonder Alonso got caught in no-man’s land charging the ball. Second baseman Jed Lowrie couldn’t get over to cover first and Coulombe wound up firing a throw to no one in particular. Smith wound up on third and scored on Corey Dickerson’s sacrifice fly to snap a 4-4 tie.
More opportunities wasted: The A’s loaded the bases in the ninth with one out and their 3-4 hitters due up. But Jed Lowrie popped up in foul territory and Khris Davis chased strike three to end it. It was an example of why Oakland entered the day last in the majors with a .163 batting average with the bases loaded.
Vogt provides a boost: After Josh Phegley got both starts behind the plate in Saturday’s doubleheader, Stephen Vogt was back in Sunday’s lineup and drove in the A’s first two runs. He went down and got a low pitch off Chris Archer for a run-scoring single in the second. Then Archer tried to throw a 95 mile-per-hour fastball by him in the fourth and Vogt drilled it to right-center for an RBI double.
Rays’ super sub strikes again: The A’s had no answer for Mallex Smith.
Filling in for injured Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, Smith terrorized the A’s all series, going 8-for-14 with six runs, a homer, three RBI and four stolen bases. He showed some pop in his bat and speed to do ‘small ball’ damage. Exhibit A was the seventh-inning bunt Sunday that ignited Tampa Bay’s go-ahead rally.
Fifth-inning blues for Hahn: Jesse Hahn took a 3-0 lead into the fifth. He struck out the first two batters of that inning before Tampa Bay struck for three runs to tie it on five consecutive hits.