OAKLAND -- Khris Davis continued his tear at the plate and the A's bullpen held its own against a potent Dodgers lineup, but Sean Manaea turned in his shortest outing of the season as the A's six-game winning streak came to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Dodgers
OAKLAND -- Khris Davis continued his tear at the plate and the A's bullpen held its own against a potent Dodgers lineup, but Sean Manaea turned in his shortest outing of the season as the A's six-game winning streak came to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Dodgers in the opener of a two-game set at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Davis mashed his 32nd home run of the season, a two-run homer to center off Dodgers' starter Rich Hill in the sixth inning, to cut the A's deficit to 3-2. Since the All-Star break, Davis is tied for the MLB lead with 11 homers and leads MLB with 24 RBIs.
But the home run was all the A's could muster, as Manaea, who allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings, received two or fewer runs of support for the 13th time this season. Still, the bullpen kept the offense within striking distance. Five relievers -- including newly acquired Shawn Kelley and Jeurys Familia -- limited the Dodgers to one run on four hits over 6 1/3.
"This was a game we had to cover," manager Bob Melvin said. "We haven't had to cover something like this in a while. Everybody did a nice job coming in, really. When you're covering as much of the game as we had to, and you only give up one run, the bullpen's doing a good job."
Davis' homer chased Hill, who took a one-hit shutout into the sixth, but the A's, who lead the Majors in runs in the seventh inning or later, were blanked over the final 3 2/3 frames by the Dodgers' bullpen.
Because the Mariners lost to the Rangers earlier on Tuesday, Oakland remain two games ahead of Seattle for the second American League Wild Card spot, but the Wild Card-leading Yankees won, giving them a four-game advantage on the A's.
Manaea had pitched at least five innings in each of his last 12 starts, but he could not get through the third inning on Tuesday. Manaea struggled with his command, issuing three walks after walking two batters or fewer in 21 of his previous 23 starts. He was in trouble throughout, with the Dodgers scoring in each of the first three innings.
Manaea said he felt fine, but struggled with command. He could not locate his fastball or throw his changeup for strikes. For Manaea, having control of his changeup is often the difference between a good start and a clunker.
"It just makes everything easier," Manaea said. "Just wasn't able to throw it for a strike. Just a bad game."
The Dodgers also battled with two strikes, running Manaea's pitch count to 77.
"Just one of those nights, didn't look like there was much life," Melvin said. "They were getting some pretty good swings on him. Didn't look like he was fooling anybody. Running up close to 80 pitches in 2 2/3, and that gets a little uncomfortable."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stephen Piscotty and Chad Pinder walked to lead off the fifth inning with the A's down, 3-0. It was one of the few times the A's put a runner in scoring position, but the rally ended with Jonathan Lucroy hitting into a double play.
Melvin said there was no consideration of having Lucroy bunt to turn it over to the top of the order.
"Maybe you bunt him over if we have the potential tying run," Melvin said. "We're still down three at the time. Against left-handed pitching, he's been pretty good for us. He's actually driven in some big runs for us. Typically, when we bunt, we need a run. We needed more than a run there."
Jed Lowrie, who went 0-for-3 with a walk, is in an 0-for-12 skid and his average -- once consistently above .300 -- has dropped to .265.
"He was so hot for a while in the first half, too," Melvin said. "Went through a rough period, came back, swung the bat well. It's just the way the season goes, up and down."
HE SAID IT
"It's not great. You want to try to stay on a roll. We have two games here and then another off-day. It's not an excuse." -- Melvin, on the how the A's having three off-days an eight-day stretch is affecting the offense
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With runners on first and third and nobody out in the sixth, Austin Barnes laid down a bunt and Cody Bellinger broke from third for the plate. But A's pitcher Ryan Buchter glove flipped the ball to Lucroy to get Bellinger on a close play.
The Dodgers challenged the call, both too see whether Lucroy illegally blocked the plate and whether Bellinger avoided the tag with a crafty swim move. Replays confirmed there was no violation of the home-plate collision rule, and the out call would stand, as there wasn't a definitive angle that showed whether Bellinger got to the plate before Lucroy's tag.
Oakland will wrap up its two-game Interleague set against the Dodgers at 7:05 p.m. PT on Wednesday, with Mike Fiers making his A's debut opposite ace lefty Clayton Kershaw.
Eric He is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.