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A's magic number stays at 7 with loss to Halos

September 19, 2018

OAKLAND -- The A's magic number didn't budge on Tuesday.A disastrous meeting with the Angels doomed the A's in the series opener at the Coliseum, and they didn't get much help, either. Following wins by the Yankees, Astros and Rays, the A's shook up the standings only slightly with a

OAKLAND -- The A's magic number didn't budge on Tuesday.
A disastrous meeting with the Angels doomed the A's in the series opener at the Coliseum, and they didn't get much help, either. Following wins by the Yankees, Astros and Rays, the A's shook up the standings only slightly with a 9-7 loss, their fourth in the last five games.
Undone by an eventful six-run inning from the Angels, the A's fell five games behind the Astros in the American League West and 2 1/2 behind the Yankees for the top AL Wild Card berth. Their hold on the second Wild Card spot shrunk to 5 1/2 games over the Rays. Oakland's magic number remains seven with 11 to play.

The A's erased a Michael Trout-induced deficit with a four-run fourth. Mark Canha enlivened the home crowd with a two-out, three-run double, and he then scored on a Jonathan Lucroy single for a 4-1 lead. However, the Halos came back with a controversial sixth-inning rally.
Flamethrower Lou Trivino entered with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Andrelton Simmons launched a fly ball that right fielder Stephen Piscotty attempted to chase down in foul territory, instead cut off by a fan that got a glove on it.
The A's challenged fan interference, but the original foul ruling was upheld, setting in motion a momentum shift and a string of unfortunate events for Oakland. Simmons sliced a two-run single to center, then Trivino hit Taylor Ward with a pitch and gave up a grand slam to Kaleb Cowart that put the Angels ahead, 7-4.

"I don't know how you don't [call fan interference]," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He's going to catch it. I'm not sure what they saw that we didn't see. I asked Stephen, and he'd said he'd have caught it. Maybe the placement of the runners, maybe they don't know where they're going with that, I don't know. It's an out. You want to get every out you possibly can. We felt like it was catchable."
Piscotty confirmed as much, saying, "It's a tough play going into the wall, but I felt like I was there in enough time. Definitely changes how that inning goes, but nothing we can do about it now.
"I never understand when they're going to overturn stuff. I had a feeling they wouldn't."
A catch by Piscotty would have been the second out and kept the A's on top, even if Jose Fernandez had tagged from third and scored. Instead, the inning only worsened.

Right-hander Daniel Mengden gave the A's four innings of one-run ball -- Trout's fourth-inning homer the lone blemish -- following a seven-pitch scoreless first from opener Liam Hendriks. But Mengden exited after throwing 68 pitches as he was replaced by Shawn Kelley to open the sixth.
Playing the role of spoiler, the Angels tacked on two more runs in the eighth against Cory Gearrin. The A's cut the deficit to 9-7 with three runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Matt Olson and a two-run single by pinch-hitter Dustin Fowler. However, they went down in order against Halos right-hander Ty Buttrey in the ninth.
"We battled," Piscotty said. "We got down by a significant margin and battled back. I think that's who this team is. Great teams don't just give up, so we have to feel good about that. Obviously, we don't feel good about a loss, but we made a run."

SOUND SMART
Jed Lowrie, who drew a career high-tying three walks, has a career-high 74 free passes this season.
HE SAID IT
"Obviously, we don't want folks to interfere, but 95 percent of people are going to do that. I don't fault the fan or anything. I know that person was getting booed pretty heavily, but everyone else in the stadium probably would do the same thing. Hopefully the security folks around the line can alert people before the game and hope they remember." -- Piscotty, on the play the A's challenged for fan interference
UP NEXT
Left-hander Brett Anderson (3-5, 4.35 ERA) will toe the rubber for Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. PT game against right-hander Felix Pena (3-4, 3.75) and the Angels at the Coliseum. Anderson faced the Halos on Aug. 10, taking a no-decision after allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts in five innings at Angel Stadium.

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