SEATTLE — The A’s must be happy they’re heading home after a winless six-game road trip that concluded Sunday.
The Mariners would have liked them to stick around a bit longer.
They took three in a row from Oakland and climbed to within 2 1/2 games of the American League’s second Wild Card spot with Sunday’s 10-2 victory. Before arriving in the Pacific Northwest, the A’s were swept by the Los Angeles Angels, who themselves are fighting for a postseason spot.
This isn’t the way the A’s want to impact the playoff race. After sweeping the Rangers at home last week, they’ve dropped a season-high tying six in a row and are 3-6 in this stretch of 15 consecutive games against AL West opponents.
Seattle lefty Andrew Albers (3-1) held the A’s hitless until the sixth Sunday, when Matt Olson hit an opposite field homer to pull the A’s to within 3-1. It felt like the A’s were trailing by more all afternoon however. They were out-hit 17-5, with the Mariners pouring it on with three runs in the eighth inning.
Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a homer. For the series, Seattle hit eight homers total off A’s pitching.
STRUGGLING STARTERS: One of the themes of the 0-6 trip was Oakland starters not pitching deep enough into games. Rookie Daniel Gossett (3-8) had trouble locating the strike zone and lasted just 3 2/3 innings, the third time in six games on the trip that the A’s starter went four innings or less. Gossett walked five, gave up three runs and threw just 46 strikes compared to 43 balls among his 89 pitches.
ROUGH RETURN: Top prospect Franklin Barreto spelled Jed Lowrie at second base, his first action since being recalled from the minors Friday. Barreto went 0-for-4, striking out swinging in his first two at-bats and grounding into a double play as the A’s were trying to rally from a 5-2 deficit in the eighth. Before the game, manager Bob Melvin said Barreto is likely to get a little time at shortstop as well as second base before the season wraps.
OLSON REBOUNDS: After a rough game Saturday, first baseman Matt Olson drove in both A’s runs Sunday as part of a 2-for-3 day. Ryon Healy typically plays first base against lefty pitchers, but Melvin said the A’s envision Olson as an everyday player in the future, and he wanted Olson to face a left-hander. The night before, Olson struck out twice and committed two errors.
ALONSO HURTS HIS OLD TEAM: Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso homered Saturday and singled to assist the game winning rally that night. On Sunday, he drove in another run as part of Seattle’s 17-hit attack. The A’s traded the All-Star to the Mariners on Aug. 6 for outfielder Boog Powell.
MORE ADDITIONS ON THE WAY: After Triple-A Nashville wraps up its season Monday, the A’s will call up more players to supplement their roster. Third baseman/outfielder Renato Nunez will be one of those, and Melvin mentioned perhaps another position player. Right now, given the struggles of Oakland’s starters, some pitching reinforcements appear the most crucial need.
“You always feel like you maybe have enough, and then something transpires and you don’t wanna get caught short,” Melvin said Sunday morning, before Gossett went out and lasted just 3 2/3 innings.