Takeaways: Athletics limp home after Davis injury, another tough loss

Oakland won just one of nine games on its road trip

PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 04: Khris Davis #2 of the Oakland Athletics hits an RBI single to right field in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 4, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A nine-game road trip for the Athletics ended with a thud.

Two of them, actually.

There was the three-run home run from Pirates center fielder Starling Marte that sealed a 5-3 A’s loss in 13 innings Sunday at PNC Park, but Khris Davis also crashed into the left-field fence, leaving the game with a left hip contusion.

Which hurt worse?

It may be hard to tell, as the Athletics head home with a record of 15-21, the first time they’re more than five games under .500 since finishing the 2017 season at 75-87.

The Athletics won just one of nine away from the Coliseum: on Friday when they exploded for 16 hits and 14 runs.

“Pretty rough,” Davis said of the road trip. “The record speaks for itself. That’s all I got.”

Is Khris Davis OK?

Davis was walking around the clubhouse with a slight limp, but he said he thought he’d be OK to play Tuesday against the Reds at the Coliseum.

The play in question occurred in the bottom of the first, with Pirates leadoff man Adam Frazier looping a foul ball down the left field line.

Davis smartly checked for the fence, although he knew things might get ugly if he wanted to make the catch. After he did — a fine grab, one of a few he had here — Davis finished the inning.

But when things started to stiffen on him during the top of the second inning, he pulled himself from the game.

“I was happy I made the play,” Davis said. “Little sad I had to pull myself out. I didn’t feel like I would be beneficial for the team.”

After taking some Celebrex, Davis said his hip — the railing drilling his hip bone — was starting to feel better.

“I think so,” Davis said when asked if he thought he’d be able to play Tuesday. “It’ll just be some soreness. It’s definitely not too bad. I feel like I should be good. I feel better already.”

For what it’s worth, manager Bob Melvin said he did not anticipate Davis needing X-rays.

“I don’t think it’s to where he would need something like that,” Melvin said. “We’ll see where he is on Tuesday.”

A ‘tough one’

The game turned on a dime for the A’s, who have endured some bullpen turbulence of late. On Saturday it was J.B. Wendelken who blew an A’s lead. Fernando Rodney coughed it up Sunday.

As one of the only options left with Blake Treinen’s elbow hurting and Wendelken and Liam Henricks unavailable, Rodney gave up a single and a walk before Frazier singled in one run, cutting Oakland’s lead to 3-2.

Marte’s homer came on a 92 mph two-seamer that Rodney left out over the plate, a familiar trend for A’s pitchers of late.

Marte clobbered the offering to center field, the ball landing in the Athletics’ bullpen. The A’s had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the 13th on two walks and run-scoring hits from Kendrys Morales (single) and Stephen Piscotty (double).

Rodney now has a 8.78 earned-run average, although he entered Sunday’s game with scoreless appearances in five of his past six.

The implosion was especially frustrating because Oakland limited the Pirates to a pair of hits from the third through the 12th innings, but the Athletics’ bats were also entirely too quiet.

They finished this road trip batting just .211 (68 for 323) as a team.

“We’ve been through some tough ones here recently,” Melvin said. “This is probably at the top. Guys continue to grind. We didn’t swing the bats very well. We scored some runs when we needed to late. Gave it up in a hurry in the bottom half. Unfortunately that’s the way they trip went. That’s the way this game went.”

Frankie Montas shines

One bright spot was the work of starter Frankie Montas, who allowed five hits and one earned run in six innings, walking none and striking out five.

Montas needed just 90 pitches to get through those six innings; he was lifted for a pinch hitter, Robbie Grossman, in the top of the seventh with Nick Hundley at second base.

Grossman would drive in Hundley, tying the game at 1.

“That’s the way he’s been pitching all year,” Melvin said of Montas, who has allowed more than three runs just once in his seven starts. “He’s been getting ground balls when he needs to, and he has the ability to strike guys out. Three-pitch mix. Pitching with a lot of confidence.”

Montas didn’t like his pitch location early, specifically in the second inning when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell led off with a double and scored on third baseman Colin Moran’s sacrifice fly.

But to Montas’ credit, his command improved as the game went on.

“I thought I missed my spots a little bit, but it got better after the second inning,” Montas said. “I was just trying to go out there and have fun.”

Not left out

This series has featured Davis playing the field for the first time all season, and he was better than many expected. Running, catching, throwing, he’s had the look of an every-day left fielder.

He dived to prevent the Pirates from taking an extra base Friday. Davis made a couple impressive catches and even flashed a little bit of a throwing arm.

“For two weeks leading up to this, he was out there shagging fly balls,” Melvin said. “He was throwing every day with [assistant hitting coach] Mike Aldrete. He’s prepared for it. It’s good to see.”

Next up for Davis will be hitting a home run.

Oakland’s home run leader — only four AL players hav more than Davis’ 10 — hasn’t gone deep in 18 straight games after flying out to center in his only at-bat Sunday.

“He’s driving in runs, and he’s hitting the ball hard, maybe not elevating like he normally does,” Melvin said before the game. “I think that’s probably the next step.”

Which should come soon for a guy who has an MLB-best 143 home runs over the past four seasons.

“He’s got a long history of hitting homers,” Melvin said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he hit a homer here pretty soon.”

blog comments powered by Disqus