Instant Analysis: A's Come Crumbling Down Late in Loss to Angels


The A's seemed to have hit on something Friday night to halt their string of woes at Angel Stadium.

They scored early to take a lead, then added on a bit more offense to take a four-run edge into the late innings.

Then it all crumbled for Oakland and a bullpen that's still trying to find its footing since the trades of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson.

The Angels scored six unanswered runs over the seventh and eighth and saddled the A's with an 8-6 loss that packed a bit more sting than the garden-variety defeat.

It extended the A's losing streak to seven at Angel Stadium. They've lost 10 of their past 11 in Anaheim and, looking at the bigger picture, the A's are 15-28 against the American League West this season and 33-34 against everybody else.

Though the bullpen was the main culprit, some familiar struggles defensively also resurfaced. The A's committed two errors that aided the Angels' two-run rally in the second.

Powered by a three-run homer from Matt Chapman and a two-run double from Khris Davis, the A's commanded a 6-2 lead.

But the Angels chipped away with two runs in the sixth off Liam Hendriks that were charged to starter Jharel Cotton. Then things unraveled in a bottom of the seventh that seemed it would never end.

Daniel Coulombe (2-2), who had issued just one free pass over his previous 13 outings, walked three in a row to begin the inning, throwing just three of his 15 pitches for strikes. That left a bases-loaded mess for Blake Treinen, who struck out C.J. Cron but allowed Luis Valbuena's two-run single to knot it, 6-6.

After a fielder's choice grounder, Yunel Escobar dribbled a go-ahead infield single to the left side that a charging Matt Chapman fumbled trying to get out of his glove. Mike Trout, who had three hits, singled home another run to make it 8-6.

Cotton left a lot of work for his bullpen in going just five-plus innings. But the relief corps simply has to find a way to nail down games like this one. The A's had won four of their previous six and are trying to ignite any sort of good vibes they can as this season winds down and they to build a winning culture for a large group of young players just getting their feet wet in the bigs.

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