Athletics 3, Mariners 2: Despite hitting woes, Oakland keeps finding a way

The A’s entered Sunday ranked 21st in Major League Baseball in runs scored with 27, and were 25th in total bases with 77.

Yet they entered Monday still tied for first place in the American League West.

The A’s will be just fine this season if their offense can come around like everyone expects it to at some point. In the meantime, they’re simply finding a way, with a mixture of good pitching and some timely hits.

Ramón Laureano had one of the A’s five hits Sunday at T-Mobile Park, as he homered off reliever Anthony Misiewicz with two runners on in the fifth inning to help his team earn a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Otherwise, the A’s struck out 11 times and left seven runners on base, with Laureano’s homer representing Oakland’s only hit with runners in scoring position out of seven tries.

“It’s going to come at some point,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of the offense. “My guess is we’ll have one game where we’ll break out, score a ton of runs, and everybody can relax a little bit.”

Other takeaways from Sunday.

BASSITT’S SOLID OUTING: A’s starter Chris Bassitt earned his first victory of the season as he allowed three hits and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings. Melvin then turned to the bullpen, which allowed one run over the final 3 1/3 innings despite some tenuous moments. Liam Hendriks earned his third save.

Mixing a sinker, a changeup and a fastball, Bassitt retired 10 in a row at one point from the first to the end of the fourth inning when the Mariners held a 1-0 lead.

The one run Bassitt allowed came in the bottom of the first inning, when Daniel Vogelbach singled to center to score Dylan Moore.

“I didn’t have any dang clue where the ball was going in the first,” Bassitt said. “Got through it with minimal damage and then after the second inning, I just felt myself out and was kind of locked in from then on out.”

Through eight games, the A’s had a team ERA of 3.21, sixth-best in MLB. With a few more runs, perhaps they’re record is better than 5-4, which is good enough for a first place tie with Houston.

Bassitt, 31, had previously mentioned that sometimes a lack of run support would affect his performance. Now, in his sixth big league season, not so much.

“That’s such a trap as a starting pitcher,” Bassitt said. “If you’re worrying what your hitters are doing, if any focus is on that, you’re absolutely screwed. The only thing I worried about was not walking guys, not beating myself.”

Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano hits a three run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) 

KEMP, SEMIEN DO THEIR PARTS: Key plays by infielders Tony Kemp and Marcus Semien in the fifth gave Laureano the opportunity to make a difference Sunday.

With Kemp amd Semien on base in the fifth inning, Laureano homered off reliever Anthony Misiewicz, helping the A’s earn a 3-1 win over the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Kemp worked a walk off of Mariners starter Kendall Graveman, the former Athletic, with two outs. Semien also got on base, beating out a threw to first base after he hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield.

That got Graveman, who had been effective up until that point, out of the game as he was replaced by he lefty Anthony Misiewicz.

That set the stage for Laureano, who took Misiewicz’s hanging 82 mph slider over the left center field wall for his second home run of the season.

Kemp has his best day as an Athletic, as his single in the third inning was his first base hit of the season. His two walks gives his four for the season.

“Kemp had a good day today,” Melvin said. “Got a hit and worked count really well, kind of fits into what we try to do here. Another left-handed bat. So he had a really good game, and  at second base, too.

“Laureano’s home run was the key hit, but it was working Kendall and getting him out of the game that gave the opportunity to Ramon.”

Graveman started 78 games for the A’s from 2015 to 2018. He was the A’s Opening Day starter in 2018, but struggled mightily through the first six weeks of the season, when he was optioned to Nashville on two occasions.

Before he elected to have Tommy John surgery in July of that year, Graveman owned a 1-5 record and a 7.60 ERA.

Graveman was signed by the Chicago Cubs last year but never threw in a game as he continued his rehab. After the Cubs declined the team option, he signed with the Mariners in November.

In his one start this season, Graveman allowed six earned run sin four innings in what became a 8-5 loss to Houston on July 27. He was much tougher Sunday, allowing just three hits in 4 2/3 innings.

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Author: Curtis Pashelka