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A's impressed with Mengden's maturity, command

Despite third loss, starter fans 9 in 6 innings vs. Milwaukee
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Daniel Mengden encountered a slew of firsts this year while making his debuts at the Double-A, Triple-A and Major League levels this season, and he did so again in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, allowing three runs for the first time.

At any level.

Full Game Coverage

OAKLAND -- Daniel Mengden encountered a slew of firsts this year while making his debuts at the Double-A, Triple-A and Major League levels this season, and he did so again in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, allowing three runs for the first time.

At any level.

Full Game Coverage

But one first, his first Major League win, continues to elude him, as Milwaukee pushed across all three runs in the fifth and the A's managed just one run during his six innings of work. Oakland has scored just two runs when he's been in the game in his three starts. He's only the third pitcher in A's history to lose his first three games.

"Overall, from my standpoint I thought I threw well, even though I'm 0-3 now," Mengden said. "It's just baseball. Some days you score, some days you won't, and some days you'll pitch good, some days you won't. I'm content with how I've been throwing."

Mengden had a season-high nine strikeouts and now has 21 in 18 innings to go along with a 3.00 ERA. He attacked Milwaukee's best hitters early, striking out Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy two times each through four innings, including a strikeout of Braun with the bases loaded in the third.

His command wavered in the fifth, giving up a hard-hit double to Ramon Flores with one out. Flores advanced to third after a wayward Coco Crisp throw that missed two cutoff men and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Yadiel Rivera that Mengden couldn't handle. Scooter Gennett blasted a two-run homer two batters later to take a 3-1 lead.

Video: MIL@OAK: Flores scores on a sacrifice bunt

A's manager Bob Melvin brought Mengden out for the sixth -- showing significant trust in the rookie for his second start in the row -- and he responded by striking out the side.

"We've seen right away he's a tough kid," Melvin said. "He pitches his first game in Cincinnati when it was like 100 degrees and from the first pitch of the game looked like he belongs. His presence is impressive as anything. His stuff is very good, too. He seems to be a tough kid."

Jed Lowrie, whose locker is next to Mengden's, praised the righty's mentality on the mound, agreeing that he's pitched beyond his years through his first three starts.

"I think you obviously want to see a guy get his first win," Lowrie said. "But I think that's why wins have become devalued in baseball. Because the guy's been pitching well, we just haven't been able to pull one through for him."

Mengden said his inability to get in the win column wasn't frustrating, and he admitted he has no control over run support. Melvin didn't seem worried about Mengden's confidence moving forward, noting pitching coach Curt Young has been proactive in keeping steady conversations with him.

"He knows that we think he's good, and he is," Melvin said. "He thinks he's good, too. He might not tell you that, but he knows he's good."

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oakland Athletics, Daniel Mengden