After the A’s hitters broke through in the seventh, picking up two runs and extending their lead to 5-2, manager Bob Melvin turned things over to the ‘pen. Lefty Jerry Blevins came in and had severe troubles, though, allowing a hit, a walk and a three-run, game-tying home run to Raul Ibanez.
Ryan Cook came in and navigated out of the inning, but he too allowed Seattle to mount another rally in the eighth, when they pushed across two runs and took a 7-5 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The A’s current road trip through Texas and Seattle hasn’t been kind to the team’s relievers, almost always a strength for the green and gold.
So far on the trip, the bullpen has allowed 12 earned runs in just 16 1/3 innings, definitely a troubling statistic for the team, which is still in a first-place tie with the Texas Rangers atop the A.L. West.
It’s important to note that Sean Doolittle came in after Cook’s bad eighth and was particularly strong — he’s had some rough outings of his own over the past two weeks, so it was good to see him pitching back at his usually high level.
Still, the game got away from the A’s, who probably assumed a 5-2 seventh inning lead against the Mariners would be enough for a win.
Hopefully this is just a short-term hiccup for the bullpen, as if the A’s will have to rely on the guys in the bullpen a lot heading down the stretch.