The Coliseum is supposed to be the place where the A’s restore order on the diamond and rack up victories.
Lately, their home field has been too hospitable to opponents.
The Atlanta Braves finished off a three-game sweep with a 4-3 victory in 12 innings Sunday afternoon, sending the A’s to their fifth consecutive loss. They’ve now dropped a season-high seven in a row before the home fans.
It was an unlikely source that did them in, as former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki went deep off John Axford — his second homer of the game — to snap a tie game.
Shortly before Atlanta’s winning rally, it was announced that A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso was selected to his first All-Star team via the players’ ballot. Stealing a victory in extra innings would have been a terrific capper to the day, and the A’s can’t say they didn’t have the chance.
After Bruce Maxwell tied the game in the bottom of the 11th with a run-scoring double, Jaycob Brugman was intentionally walked and the A’s found themselves in a bases-loaded one out-situation. But Ender Inciarte made a sliding catch of Adam Rosales’ shallow fly in center, too shallow for Yonder Alonso to tag up from third and try to score. Rajai Davis then took a called strike three from Jim Johnson, who pulled a Houdini act against his old team. Suzuki then led off the 12th and crushed a 3-1 fastball from Axford for a go-ahead homer to left-center.
Here’s five things you need to know from this one:
Different month, different Davis: Khris Davis homered just five times in June, a relatively low output for him since he’s been in an A’s uniform. So far, he’s homered both days in July. Davis led off the bottom of the seventh with his 23rd of the season, a towering wind-aided fly ball that didn’t appear to be going out based on the way Inciarte was tracking the ball as he went back in center. Sunday was game No. 82 for the A’s, one past the halfway point, and Davis is on pace to eclipse last year’s career-high total of 42.
So much for that day off: Franklin Barreto was not in the starting lineup, a chance for the rookie to clear his head after he committed two errors at shortstop Saturday. But when third baseman Ryon Healy exited the game with an injury before the third inning, Adam Rosales shifted over to third and Barreto took over at shortstop. He immediately made a tough backhanded stop that began a 6-4-3 double play. In the seventh, Barreto swiped second base for his first major league steal and would score on Rosales’ sacrifice fly to make it 2-2. But he couldn’t get a sacrifice bunt down in the 11th and flied out with two aboard for the game’s final out.
Before the game, Melvin said Barreto was due for a day off anyway, but the manager did take time to talk to the rookie Sunday morning in light of the rough game a day earlier.
Rotation update: Sean Manaea turned in his longest outing of the season, going 7 1/3 innings and holding the Braves to two runs on six hits. Both runs off him came in the second. Suzuki homered on an 0-2 pitch. Then Danny Santana walked, stole second and eventually scored on Ender Inciarte’s double, a sharp bouncer that got past Alonso and was ruled a hit.
The A’s will welcome Jharel Cotton back to the rotation Monday, Melvin announced before the game. The right-hander was pushed back two days to give a blister on his right thumb extra time to heal.
Olson shows off arm: The A’s give glowing reports on rookie Matt Olson’s abilities as a defensive first baseman. But much of his time in the majors to this point has come in the outfield. Olson drew the start in right field Sunday and delivered a strike to home plate to nail Ender Inciarte as he tried to score from second on Brandon Phillips’ single. Last season in a September call-up, Olson showed his athleticism with a couple of leaping catches in right. Sunday’s game provided the best example yet of his arm strength.
Healy exits the game: Third baseman Ryon Healy left the game after the second inning with upper back spasms and is listed as day to day. Healy appeared to be hurting after running out a 6-3 grounder in the second, and he also made a sliding attempt at a foul pop-up before that.