The Oakland Athletics once again failed to protect a late-inning lead as their road losing streak reached eight games.
Right after scoring three times in the top of the seventh inning to take a two-run lead, the A’s promptly gave up four runs in the bottom half en route to a 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.
Oakland pitchers issued four walks in the bottom of the seventh. Angel Felipe (1-1) walked the bases full with one out and gave way to left-hander Francisco Pérez, who walked Lars Nootbaar on five pitches to move the Cardinals within 5-4.
Then with the bases loaded, Pérez gave up a bases-clearing triple to Jordan Walker, giving the Cardinals a 7-5 lead.
The A’s were unable to respond with another run as they lost the opener of the three-game series at Busch Stadium. Oakland was coming off a devastating 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday in which it gave up six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Oakland’s last road win came on July 29 in Colorado against the Rockies.
Against the Cardinals, Esteury Ruiz and Seth Brown both had two RBI, and Zack Gelof had one. Ruiz hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his second of the season.
A’s starter JP Sears allowed three runs in five innings.
Walker’s triple was the first of his career. Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the fifth, his 19th, for St. Louis.
Jo Jo Romero (3-1) worked 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Cardinals, who had lost their previous six meetings with the A’s.
TARNOK TO IL: The A’s placed right-hander Freddy Tarnok, who was scheduled to start today against the Cardinals, on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Aug. 11, with a strained right calf.
Manager Mark Kotsay told reporters in St. Louis that Tarnok has a Grade 2 strain and will be shut down indefinitely, and that the A’s would finalize a pitching plan for today’s game on Monday night.
Kotsay said Tarnok’s injury took place in the last inning of his last outing came at home against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 9, when he threw four scoreless innings and got his first big league win in what became a 2-0 Oakland victory.
“He didn’t think it would be a problem, but the next day came in a little bit more sore than normal,” Kotsay said. “(Later) he realized it’s probably a bigger issue than what he thought initially.”
Tarnok was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 14 and pitched in five games with the A’s, going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA, 11 walks, and 14 strikeouts over 14 2/3 innings. Tarnok, 24, started the season on the injured list with a strained right shoulder and was optioned to Las Vegas after being reinstated from the IL on July 8.
The A’s also optioned outfielder Cody Thomas to Las Vegas and recalled right-hander Spenser Watkins from Triple-A. Watkins was claimed by the A’s last week after Houston placed him on waivers and prior to Monday, had a 7-13 record with a 5.85 ERA in 39 big league appearances, including 30 starts, with Baltimore.
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KEMP REINSTATED: Infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp was reinstated from the paternity list Monday after he and his wife, Michelle, welcomed their second child over the weekend. Prior to his leave, Kemp, a pending free agent, was hitting .268 with a .748 OPS in 168 plate appearances since June 1, along with 10 steals and two home runs.
“Tony’s got a little glow about him today, which is great,” Kotsay said.
INJURY UPDATES: Kotsay said right-hander Mason Miller (UCL strain) will begin a rehab assignment in Single-A Stockton later this week. Miller will throw roughly 35 pitches whenever he makes his first appearance.