Phillies Drop Series Opener in Oakland, 3-1


Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

A bad road trip only got worse, as the Phillies dropped the series opener against the stumbling Oakland Athletics, 3-1, on Friday night.

The Phillies had their chances against Oakland lefty Jon Lester, but just could not come through with a timely hit.  The loss also wasted another strong start by Phillies’ rookie David Buchanan.  Buchanan pitched well enough to win – at one point retiring 12 of 14 batters.

Buchanan’s lone blemish came in the second inning when Oakland strung together back-to-back-to-back RBI singles.  With runners on first and second and two outs, Buchanan had A’s catcher Derek Norris buried in the count, 1-2.  One strike away from a scoreless inning.

Buchanan left a pitch out over the plate and Norris lined a clean single to right field.  Right fielder Marlon Byrd charged the ball.  Designated hitter Adam Dunn (arguably the slowest runner in the majors) appeared to be slowing up on his approach to third base.  The ball took a high hop on Byrd – deflecting off his body, allowing Dunn to score without a throw.

Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp promptly followed with two-out, run-scoring singles of their own.  Buchanan would allow only two more base runners until the seventh inning – on-base machine Adam Dunn, both times.

Ryan Howard provided brief life to a moribund offense in the fourth inning, when he launched his 22nd home run of the season to dead center.  With two struggling offenses on the field, it should come as no surprise that Howard’s homer would cap the scoring for the night.

The Phillies had chances to score runs.  In the first inning, Carlos Ruiz walked and Chase Utley singled, with one out.  Lester quickly dispatched Howard and Byrd with strikeouts to squelch the threat.  Grady Sizemore lead off the second inning with a walk.  That potential rally died just as quickly when Darin Ruf grounded into a 3-6-3 double play.

Freddy Galvis lead off the eighth inning with a double, and advanced to third on a ground out.  Runner on third with less than two outs.  The successful teams find a way to bring that run home.  The offensively inept teams, do not.

Carlos Ruiz hit a grounder to third baseman Josh Donaldson.  Donaldson came home with the throw, easily nailing the sliding Galvis at the plate.  That was the final scoring chance of the night for the Phillies.  A’s closer Sean Doolittle slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Lester was his usual self – one of the best left handers in the majors who always gives his team a chance to win.  Even when he doesn’t have his dominating stuff, he still battles and keeps his team in the game.  Jon Lester against this version of the Phillies’ offense, on paper, is a mismatch.

On this night, that mismatch translated to the field.


– Friday night marked the 60th anniversary of the Philadelphia Athletics’ last game in Philadelphia.  On Sunday, September 19, 1954, the Athletics lost to the New York Yankees, 4-2, in front of 1,715 fans at Connie Mack Stadium.

Ben Revere is three stolen bases shy of 50 for the season.  The last Phillies’ player to steal 50 was Juan Samuel in 1985.

– Jon Lester is 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 10 starts since the July 31 trade that brought him to Oakland.