Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

A's held in check as Manaea shaky vs. Mariners

Oakland ace allows season-high four runs in rubber game
Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Athletics left-handed ace Sean Manaea was in such a groove in April, everything felt good coming out of his hand.

It showed. He finished April by not giving up an earned run in 18 consecutive innings, and earned American League pitcher of the month honors.

View Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- Athletics left-handed ace Sean Manaea was in such a groove in April, everything felt good coming out of his hand.

It showed. He finished April by not giving up an earned run in 18 consecutive innings, and earned American League pitcher of the month honors.

View Full Game Coverage

But for the first time this season, he was off -- and the Mariners were on it. They pestered him with two early manufactured runs before slugger Nelson Cruz delivered the big blow in the Athletics' 4-1 loss Thursday at Safeco Field.

With the loss, Oakland finished its nine-game American League West-only road trip at 4-5.

Video: OAK@SEA: Manaea strikes out Zunino in the 2nd

Manaea still pitched six decent innings overall, but admitted afterward, "I didn't have the best stuff today."

"The difference was we didn't score much," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "And we are used to him shutting everyone out, for the most part."

Coming into the series finale, the Athletics felt pretty good about getting out of Seattle with a winning trip, especially after their dramatic come-from-behind victory Wednesday.

And why not? Manaea had been virtually unbeatable in the first part of the season, giving up just five earned runs in 48.2 innings -- and had just tamed two of the league's best offenses in Boston (no-hitter) and Houston (one unearned run in seven innings).

But it didn't take long for Seattle to jump on him.

Manaea surrendered a Dee Gordon single off Matt Olson's glove at first base to start the game. Gordon stole second, and advanced to third on Jean Segura's sacrifice bunt.

Video: OAK@SEA: Semien robs Seager with a sliding stop

Robinson Cano delivered an RBI single to left field, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead.

In the third inning, the Mariners used a similar strategy: Gordon hit a pop-up double down the right-field line, and went to third on another Segura sacrifice bunt.

And Cano's run-scoring single to center extended the Mariners' lead to 2-0.

"[Cano] is a really tough out," Manaea said.

It wasn't all small-ball for Seattle. Cruz followed Cano's single by hammering Manaea's belt-high changeup 426 feet over the center-field wall for a two-run home run, and a 4-0 Seattle lead.

"Everything felt good," Manaea said. "The slider was pretty decent, and I felt like my fastball location was pretty good, too. But not having the changeup and being able to throw it for strikes, that is big for me."

The Athletics avoided the shutout on Stephen Piscotty's leadoff 443-foot solo home run in the fifth inning, but totaled just seven runs in three games in Seattle.

"Offensively, I would have liked to think we could have had some better at-bats early on," Melvin said. "It was nice that the starter [Wade LeBlanc] came out [after four innings], but they mixed and matched a little bit, and gave us a different look."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
When Manaea has the fastball, slider and changeup all working, he is one tough customer. But he was inconsistent with his offspeed pitches, and left a changeup right over the plate for Cruz in the third inning. Manaea gave up four runs, a season high.

Video: OAK@SEA: Cruz crushes a 2-run homer to center

SOUND SMART
After throwing 108 pitches in the no-hitter against Boston, and 95 pitches at Houston, Manaea was limited to 84 pitches Thursday night in his six innings. "Early in the season, he's had a pretty good workload," Melvin said.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Piscotty's home run got out of Safeco Field in a hurry. He sent the first pitch he saw from reliever Chasen Bradford screaming 443 feet over the center-field wall -- with an exit velocity of 108.1 mph, which was his second-highest figure on a home run this season.

UP NEXT
After two rough opening starts, right-hander Daniel Mengden (2-3, 4.68 ERA) has settled down recently and will take the mound when the Athletics start a three-game set against the Orioles on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT. In his past four starts, he is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA. He has only allowed two home runs, and walked just four batters in 32 2/3 innings this season. The Orioles will send Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.76 ERA) to the mound.

Todd Milles is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Oakland Athletics