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Anderson struggles vs. former club as A's fall

Oakland remains one game behind Mariners in Wild Card race
MLB.com @JaneMLB

DENVER -- A rotation ravaged by injuries left the A's seeking help this spring. They were desperate for depth, with no simple solution in sight, when they took a gamble on a pair of familiar faces in Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson.

The low-risk signings were just that, and Cahill has produced more good than bad, while Anderson, though eating innings, has been less effective, most recently yielding four runs on eight hits over six frames in a 4-1 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field on Saturday night.

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DENVER -- A rotation ravaged by injuries left the A's seeking help this spring. They were desperate for depth, with no simple solution in sight, when they took a gamble on a pair of familiar faces in Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson.

The low-risk signings were just that, and Cahill has produced more good than bad, while Anderson, though eating innings, has been less effective, most recently yielding four runs on eight hits over six frames in a 4-1 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field on Saturday night.

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Having dropped the first two games of a three-game set for their first back-to-back losses since June 12-15, the A's streak of consecutive non-losing series was snapped at 11. Still, they remain just one game back of the second American League Wild Card spot following the Mariners' loss in Anaheim.

"We should feel good about what we've accomplished," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've lost a series, but we have an opportunity to win a game tomorrow and go back home, which would end up being a good road trip. We're not going to be perfect every game. We're not going to score seven or eight runs every game, and you have to give them credit. They've pitched us well."

Four times in eight starts with the A's -- a stretch interrupted by a shoulder injury -- Anderson has allowed at least eight hits. Not until the sixth inning on Saturday did he face the minimum in an inning. That he lasted that long was something of a surprise, after he was knocked around for much of the night.

"The pitches I made were either really good or really terrible," Anderson said. "There was no kind of in-between. Usually in a start, you get those borderline pitches, but it seemed like today they were really good pitches exactly where I wanted with the action I wanted, or it was just right down the middle and didn't have that break. That can happen sometimes at Coors Field."

"He's gotta get the ball down a little bit more," Melvin said. "It's been a couple outings where he's given us some innings but early on they've scored on him."

Video: OAK@COL: A's turn two behind Anderson in the 5th

Anderson, who surrendered a pair of solo homers to Nolan Arenado and Pat Valaika, is not guaranteed another start. The A's, healthier these days with Daniel Mengden and Chris Bassitt on call at Triple-A Nashville, could potentially designate Anderson for assignment soon.

The offense didn't do the veteran lefty any favors, mustering six hits and flailing in the clutch. After leaving 13 on base in Friday's series opener, the A's stranded nine, finishing 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Khris Davis' first-inning sacrifice fly plated their only run.

"That was the story of the game again," Melvin said. "The middle of our order usually does some damage. We just didn't these two games. Just move on to the next game again. I don't know how we can expect to do it every time like we've done for a while now, so just a couple games where we haven't come through."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the A's trailing 2-1, Matt Chapman collected his second hit of the night in the third inning, doubling with one out against Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela. Jed Lowrie joined him on the bases via a walk, putting two on with the team's most powerful bats next in line. But Davis, after working a 2-0 count, just got under a fastball and sent it to shallow right field, and Matt Olson couldn't even get one out of the infield, popping out to end the threat.

HE SAID IT
"The one Valaika hit, I could've hit, which isn't saying a lot. That can't happen. With this yard, keep them within two and a bloop and a blast, we're right back in it, but a three-run lead, especially the way they've been playing here and pitching here at home, is kind of tough to overcome." -- Anderson

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Replay officials were responsible for the first run of the game. The A's quickly posed a threat with consecutive hits from Nick Martini and Chapman to open the contest, putting runners at the corners with no outs. After Lowrie struck out, Davis launched a fly ball to right field that Carlos Gonzalez caught and fired home. Martini was initially ruled out, but he was deemed safe when the call was overturned for Oakland's only run. Martini's right foot barely touched the plate before Rockies catcher Tom Murphy applied the tag.

Video: OAK@COL: Review shows Martini beats the tag at home

UP NEXT
The A's will put right-hander Frankie Montas (5-2, 3.54 ERA) on the mound for Sunday's series finale in Denver, while the Rockies go with righty German Marquez (8-8, 5.00) in the 12:10 p.m. PT matchup at Coors Field. It will be Montas' first career start against Colorado.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Brett Anderson