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The A’s haven’t had much of a chance to catch their breath lately after playing four games in three days across three time zones.

Perhaps all that travel — from Arlington to Seattle to Denver — caught up with them Tuesday.

The A’s went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and committed their first error since Sept. 8 in a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The A’s scored their only run in the top of the second inning as a Tony Kemp sacrifice fly to center field brought home Jake Lamb.

Otherwise, the A’s were stymied by Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, who allowed just six hits and handed Oakland starter Sean Manaea his first loss since July 31.

The A’s (30-19) also left five runners on base as their magic number to clinch a playoff spot remained at five, as the Houston Astros beat the Texas Rangers 4-1. The A’s still have a 5 1/2 game over lead the Astros, and have 11 games left to play.

The A’s played Texas four times in three days from Friday to Sunday. They then flew to Seattle, where, amid unhealthy air quality, they played the Mariners twice on Monday.

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“We definitely had some guys that could feel some phlegm in their throats, especially myself,” Kemp said. “(Joakim) Soria was dealing with something as well. Yeah, I’d say those conditions (in Seattle) were not the best playing conditions, and we still played through it.

“Definitely there were some guys that were feeling some stuff in their bodies today from yesterday’s doubleheader.”

The A’s flew to Denver after Monday’s doubleheader but did not arrive at the Mile High City until 2 a.m. local time.

“(Monday) didn’t help, but we need an off day,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve got one more game tomorrow that we need coming up and do our best to win, and we’ll finally enjoy an off day after a pretty grueling stretch.”

The A’s fell behind by one in the fifth inning as Manaea allowed a two-run homer to Elias Diaz.

Right after Josh Fuentes singled and advanced to third on a Marcus Semien throwing error, Diaz lined a hanging curveball just over the left field fence in the corner for a 2-1 Rockies lead.

It was Diaz’ first home run and first RBIs this season. Semien’s error was the first in nine games for the A’s, who entered Tuesday with 20 errors, fewest in Major League Baseball.

Manaea was solid Tuesday — striking out six in the first four innings, and getting out of a jam in the third inning — but not quite as dazzling as he had been in recent starts.

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 15: Elias Diaz #35 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated on his two-run home run by Josh Fuentes #8 and Garrett Hampson #1 during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Coors Field on September 15, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) 

Instead of a fastball in the 95 mph range, like it had been five days ago, Manaea’s four-seamer was more around 91-92 mph.

Despite some decreased velocity on his fastball, Manaea’s outing was still solid. He threw 89 pitches, finished with season-high seven strikeouts and was charged with three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.

“Overall, I thought I went out there and competed,” Manaea said. “That’s baseball. (The Rockies) put good swings on balls they should.”

Manaea came into Tuesday with a 4-0 record and a 1.98 ERA over his last five starts. In his last outing — in Oakland against Houston on Sept. 10 — Manaea allowed just one earned run and two hits over seven innings in a 3-1 A’s win.

At least the A’s schedule lets up a bit going forward. They finish their series with the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon, fly home, have a day off Thursday and begin a three-game series with the Giants on Friday at the Coliseum.

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Author: Curtis Pashelka

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