A’s suffer eighth straight loss as offense continues to struggle

MINNEAPOLIS – For the second straight day, it didn’t matter that the A’s got a strong performance from their starting pitcher. They still can’t figure out a way to score runs and the losses are piling up because of it.

Jorge Polanco’s solo homer provided all the offense Minnesota needed as ex-A’s pitcher Sonny Gray and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 win Saturday.

In his second start, A’s pitcher James Kaprielian (0-2) looked more like the guy who went 8-5 with a 4.07 ERA last season. He surrendered just the one run on three hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

However, it couldn’t prevent Oakland from sliding to its eighth straight loss as it has now scored one run or fewer in nine of its last 14 games.

“We’re in a tough stretch,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We’ve got to stay together and just get through this, find a way to win a baseball game.”

The A’s offensive troubles keep running deeper as they’ve scored just 27 runs in their last 13 games (2.1 runs per game). The team’s batting average is an American League-low .200, including a cumulative team average of .170 over the past 13 games.

So far this season, Oakland has the major league’s lowest on-base percentage (.265), lowest OPS (.582) and it has struck out an AL-worst 259 times, including 15 during Saturday’s loss.

Gray, who returned from the injured list to make the start for the Twins after recovering from a hamstring strain, struck out seven in his four innings of work.

Griffin Jax (2-0) earned the win for the Twins with 1 2/3 innings in relief. Jhoan Duran struck out five in two innings for his second save, but the electric right-hander escaped after walking Seth Brown and hitting pinch hitter Sean Murphy in the ninth.

However, the hard-throwing Duran struck out Christian Bethancourt on a 100 mph fastball to end the game.

“It’s part of this grind that we’re in,” Kotsay said. “There in the ninth, again, we got guys on base. These guys are continuing to fight. We’re in a tough stretch and we got to continue to stay together as a group, and just get through this, find a way to win a baseball game.”

He struck out seven, recovering from a tough first start to the season when he gave up four runs in two innings against Cleveland. Kaprelian’s effort came one day after rookie Zach Logue’s first major league start produced five innings and just two runs allowed.

“Kap did an awesome job today,” Kotsay said. “That was a really good performance for him.”

The right-hander said he made an in-game adjustment Saturday moving his hands up.

“Just kind of felt more comfortable timing-wise, more on top of the baseball, quicker to the plate and then stuff started to play up a little bit because of it,” Kaprielian said. “But I just think getting my feet under me a little bit and getting my comfort level back.”

Kaprielian, who lasted just two innings against Cleveland last Sunday while giving up four runs and four walks in his first start, retired seven of eight before Polanco’s two-out homer in the sixth on his final pitch.

Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/05/07/as-suffer-eighth-straight-loss-as-offense-continues-to-be-a-big-problem/

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