OAKLAND -- Unable to clinch on their own grounds Sunday afternoon, the A's will move the party to Seattle.A 5-1 loss to the Twins in their regular-season home finale, combined with a Rays win, kept their magic number at one as they head north while the champagne remains on ice
OAKLAND -- Unable to clinch on their own grounds Sunday afternoon, the A's will move the party to Seattle.
A 5-1 loss to the Twins in their regular-season home finale, combined with a Rays win, kept their magic number at one as they head north while the champagne remains on ice with six to play.
"It's disappointing we couldn't get it done here, but I like our chances heading on the road," A's third baseman Matt Chapman said. "In a perfect world, we get it done today. That's just the way it goes, and I know we'll be ready to go tomorrow."
That the Yankees also lost proved to be the lone silver lining of the day, keeping the A's within 1 1/2 games of the top American League Wild Card spot, which guarantees home-field advantage. Should the Yankees keep their footing, the A's would only return to the Coliseum this year if they punch a ticket to the AL Division Series with the Red Sox.
The Coliseum has been incredibly kind to Trevor Cahill this year, but the right-hander faltered in front of an anxious crowd in his first start in two weeks, while a mighty offense struggled to score under the watch of Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who scattered seven hits and three walks over 7 1/3 innings yet held the A's to one run.
Matt Olson was responsible for the A's only run, launching his 28th home run in the second. Oakland left nine on base and finished the series 0-for-21 with runners in scoring position despite taking the first two games.
"That does not happen very often with us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We're pretty good with runners in scoring position, and we were not in this series. Usually, those things tend to even out. Unfortunately, it didn't even out today. Guys early in the game, they really wanna be the guy that comes up and gets a big hit, but as the game went along, give [Gibson] credit. He was terrific today. He's a pretty good pitcher."
Cahill, back on the mound after missing a pair of starts because of upper back discomfort, was around for just 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs -- three earned -- and five hits, including a two-run homer to Jake Cave in the opening frame. The veteran pitcher was undone in a game-altering fourth inning that featured a critical throwing error by Chapman.
Chapman had a chance at redemption when he stepped to the plate with one out and two on in the fifth, but he was robbed of a run-scoring hit when third baseman Ehire Adrianza made an incredible diving stop and throw to start an inning-ending double play on the hardest-hit ball of the day. Statcast™ tracked it with an exit velocity of 108.1 mph.
"Great play," Chapman said. "That kind of just describes what happened today. They made the plays they needed to when they needed to, and we didn't."
The A's, readying for their first playoff berth since 2014, finished their home campaign 50-31; a bevy of fans offered their appreciation for a rousing season with a standing ovation as the team departed the field Sunday.
"I think it's a little disappointing," Melvin said. "Everybody here wanted to take care of this today at home. It was a big crowd. We just get another baserunner there in the eighth and or ninth, and they're going to be into it pretty big time, and a lot of times we put on our best show late in games. Unfortunately, it didn't happen today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With one out and the A's trailing by a run in the fourth, the typically trusty Chapman threw away a potential inning-ending double play ball, setting up Max Kepler's RBI single, and Adrianza followed with a run-scoring double to send Cahill out of the game. Right-hander Shawn Kelley was tagged for a sacrifice fly by Chris Gimenez but limited the damage otherwise, as the Twins exited the inning with a 5-1 lead.
"I just think that I was worried about the catch and I didn't hit my target," Chapman said. "I think I had a little more time. I maybe rushed the throw because I wanted to turn a double play, and Chad [Pinder] tried to hang on there for me, but I just kind of knew that was my fault and then three runs score, so it doesn't really feel good, but I kind of took us out of the game right there."
Olson played in all 81 home games this season. Should he appear in each of the A's final six games on the road, it will be the 11th time in Oakland history a player appeared in all 162 and first since Miguel Tejada did it in 2003.
HE SAID IT
"All things considered, I think it was a step in the right direction for him. The last time we saw him, he was completely out of whack and hurting a little bit. You could tell within his delivery it just wasn't smooth, but I think that he looked OK today." -- Melvin, who wouldn't yet commit to another start for Cahill
The A's are set to depart the Coliseum for their final road trip of the regular season. Daniel Mengden (7-6, 4.00 ERA) will be on the mound when the A's open a three-game series in Seattle on Monday. The Mariners will send James Paxton to the hill for the 7:10 p.m. PT matchup. Mengden held opponents to one run over his last 13 2/3 innings.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.