OAKLAND - The late-game magic was nowhere to be found Tuesday night at the Coliseum, with the A's fate sealed pretty early against the Los Angeles Angels.
Jharel Cotton continued his up-and-down rookie season by allowing a career-high seven runs, and the A's saw a three-game winning streak snapped with a 7-3 loss. Cotton surrendered three home runs in the first two innings, with Yunel Escobar's three-run shot opening up a 5-2 lead for the visitors.
Yonder Alonso's continued heroics with the bat went to waste. The first baseman hit two home runs to overtake Khris Davis for the team lead in that category, but Oakland had its streak of three consecutive walk-off victories come to an end.
Cotton's season has been a head-scratcher. His seven starts have alternated between good and bad without interruption, and his ERA rose to 5.68. Manager Bob Melvin has commented on the tough decision the A's will face with their rotation when starter Sean Manaea returns from the disabled list sometime in the next week.
Someone will be bumped, and Cotton's status does not seem as secure as it once did. From the outside looking in, either he or Jesse Hahn (who struggled in his most recent start) seem the most likely candidates to lose their spot.
Not that the A's helped themselves offensively. They went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.
Starting pitching report
The strange thing Tuesday night was Cotton (3-4) seemed to have pretty good stuff, striking out seven in the first three innings. But ill-timed mistakes cost him heavily. He struck out Escobar and Kole Calhoun to start the game, but Albert Pujols crushed a 1-2 changeup to left for his 596th career homer. He's ninth on the all-time list. Alonso gave the A's a 2-1 lead with his two-run homer. Then Cotton got two quick outs in the second. But Ben Revere turned on a fastball and homered to right to tie it. Cliff Pennington and Martin Maldonado singled to bring up Escobar. Cotton appeared to have gotten strike three when he painted a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner, but home plate umpire Chris Conroy didn't agree. That would haunt the rookie, as Escobar reached out and yanked the next pitch over the wall in left for a three-run homer that gave the Angels a 5-2 lead.
Josh Smith helped ease the bullpen's workload by eating up three scoreless innings in relief of Cotton. Daniel Coulombe added a scoreless inning.
At the plate
Fresh off of his AL Player of the Week honors, Alonso continues his crazy roll. He went deep to left-center for a two-run shot in the first. That was a glimpse of the opposite-field pop he was showing in spring training. Since the start of the regular season, it's been his pull power that has impressed. In the sixth, Alonso drilled a solo shot to right-center. That gives him seven homers in eight games this month. Don't reach for your reading glasses, it's true - Alonso's 11 homers tie him for second in the league. And he's overtaken Khris Davis (10) for the team home run lead.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
The announced crowd was 11,383.
Former Athletic Jesse Chavez (2-4, 4.46) takes the Coliseum mound for the Angels in the finale of this three-game series Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. Andrew Triggs (4-2, 2.34) goes for the A's.