Mike Fiers left Thursday's game against the Minnesota Twins in line for his eighth consecutive win. Unfortunately for Fiers, the A's bullpen couldn't protect the lead for him.
That's become an unwelcome trend this season and continued in Thursday's 6-3 loss, as Oakland blew its 17th save of the season, third-most in the AL.
Yusmeiro Petit entered the game with two on and one out in the seventh inning and the A's leading 3-1. Minnesota's Eddie Rosario belted Petit's very first pitch over the right field wall for a three-run home run, and the Twins rallied back for the series-opening victory.
"It probably crept a little bit more towards the middle than he wanted it," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters Thursday after the game. "But he's been a guy who's been doing (the job) for us in that situation all year. Every now and then you're going to give one up. Give (Rosario) credit. He put a good swing on it."
Fiers ended up with a no-decision and his win streak remains alive at seven. The right-hander delivered his 11th straight quality start, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, with four strikeouts and four walks.
Fiers wasn't quite as sharp as he has been recently, but Fiers still found a way to limit the damage despite the many baserunners. He recorded the first out of the seventh inning, before allowing a double and a walk to put the tying runs on base.
At that point, Fiers had made 89 pitches and Melvin had a decision to make. Oakland's skipper elected to turn to his bullpen.
"It's a hot night, he's back out there again for the seventh inning, gives up a hit and a walk," Melvin explained. "So it's a situation where we usually bring (Petit) in. You've got to give Rosario credit. He hit a good pitch."
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Lou Trivino also had a rough night out of the A's bullpen, surrendering a pair of home runs in the eighth inning to give the Twins some insurance. Oakland's 'pen has only converted 56 percent of save opportunities this season, seventh-worst in the majors.
The A's bullpen has actually performed much better as of late, so perhaps this is just a minor hiccup. Oakland will try to even the series Friday night when they send Chris Bassitt to the mound.