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Misfire on potential double play haunts A's

@JaneMLB
March 21, 2019

TOKYO -- The A's went quietly on a night that belonged to Ichiro Suzuki anyway. They were a sideshow to a surreal spectacle, spectators to the final moments of a Hall of Fame career on this most special Thursday night at the Tokyo Dome.

TOKYO -- The A's went quietly on a night that belonged to Ichiro Suzuki anyway.

They were a sideshow to a surreal spectacle, spectators to the final moments of a Hall of Fame career on this most special Thursday night at the Tokyo Dome.

Ichiro announced his retirement following the emotional affair, marking the end of a legendary run, and the A's departed Japan without a win after dropping both games to the Mariners in this Opening Series.

A 5-4 loss in the finale saw A's second baseman Jurickson Profar misfire a throw on a potential inning-ending double play ball in the 12th inning that allowed the go-ahead run to score, and the offense came up empty in the home half against Mariners closer Hunter Strickland.

Shortly after the game, Melvin received a request from close friend Ichiro -- whom he managed in Seattle -- to be present for his retirement announcement. The two immediately embraced when Ichiro entered the room.

"Would have been a lot easier if we won, but you have to stop and understand what just transpired," Melvin said. "One of the greatest careers in baseball history and maybe as entertaining of a player that's ever played, and he took that seriously. He wasn't just a ballplayer, he was an entertainer, and he was out there to entertain the fans, and he did that as well as anybody."

The A's had a chance to make some of their own magic ahead of a nine-hour journey home, but Khris Davis, who delivered a game-tying, two-run single with two outs in the seventh, struck out with the bases loaded in the 11th.

Lefty Ryan Buchter put each of his first two batters on base in the 12th and handed the ball over to Fernando Rodney with one out; Rodney walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases but got Domingo Santana to hit one into the ground, only to watch a double play in the making go awry.

Right-hander Marco Estrada, long plagued by the long ball, surrendered two over five innings in his A's debut. A two-run offering to ex-Athletic Ryon Healy put Seattle on the board in the second, and Mitch Haniger tagged Estrada for a loud solo shot in the third.

Estrada's next start will come on the vast Coliseum grounds, which should help his cause. The veteran pitcher is eyeing a bounce-back campaign after averaging 1.8 home runs per nine innings next to a 5.64 ERA with the Blue Jays in 2018.

A's pitchers yielded four home runs in the two-game series, burdening an A's lineup that attempted to pick them up in the finale following a slow start. They struggled to find a rhythm against Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi, who was making his first Major League start, before coming to life in the fifth.

After coming up with just one hit against Kikuchi through the first four frames, the A's got three in the fifth. Matt Olson and Profar teamed up for back-to-back base hits, and Marcus Semien delivered a run-scoring single through the middle to send Kikuchi out of the game. Oakland was gifted a second run when Matt Chapman reached on a missed catch by first baseman Jay Bruce.

Olson exited the game at the beginning of the sixth inning because of a right hand injury. He'll be re-evaluated in Oakland this weekend.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.