A suddenly potent Oakland Athletics offense that had no trouble scoring runs in its first two games against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field over the weekend was silenced in Sunday’s series finale.
Ty Blach tossed five strong innings, Ryan McMahon had two hits and drove in both runs, and the Rockies beat the A’s 2-0 on Sunday to salvage the final game of the three-game set.
Matt Koch, Brent Suter and Daniel Bard each pitched an inning before Justin Lawrence capped the shutout with a clean ninth to earn his eighth save.
But there were some positives for the A’s, even as their record fell to an unsightly 30-77.
Ramón Laureano had two hits and Luis Medina (3-8) continued to show his growth as he allowed two runs and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings for the Athletics.
Prior to Sunday, Medina was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA, with 10 earned runs allowed in 31.2 innings pitched, and held opponents to a .207 (24-for-116) batting average over his last six games. In his first eight games, Medina was 1-6 with a 7.55 ERA, and opponents had a .288 average.
“We continue to see a pitcher making strides over the course of the season since he’s been here with us, in all facets,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay told reporters about Medina after the game. “The mental side of the game and the competitive side, he’s showing a lot of poise.
“Then the execution of pitches. I thought his slider was really good. He got a lot of swing and misses, didn’t walk anyone — which we heard through development was that command could be an issue here — and he’s really honing in on everything. All the preparation that he’s done, all the work that our pitching coaches have done with him, you can see it really pay dividends right now.”
The A’s allowed 10 runs for the series — a respectable number given the high-altitude venue. Oakland’s staff had an MLB-worst 5.84 ERA prior to Sunday, but that’s the lowest it has been since the sixth game of the season on April 5 when it was 5.79.
“To come to Coors and keep that offense in check and win two of three games, it shows the growth in the team and shows that we continue to be competitive,” Kotsay said. “Winning a series is a good sign.”
Still, the offense remains inconsistent.
Oakland, which entered the weekend series averaging 3.22 runs, put up a total of 19 runs in its wins Friday and Saturday nights against traditional starters. The Athletics’ bats went silent against Blach, a reliever and designated opener, and have now been shut out 12 times this season.
Blach (1-0), making his second straight start, went a season-high five innings and threw just 11 balls in his 52 pitches. He allowed three hits and only one runner past first base.
McMahon provided the run support with an RBI single in the third inning and a two-out double in the fifth to bring home Ezequiel Tovar.
The Athletics’ best chance to score was against Suter in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with two outs. Suter got Nick Allen looking with a 78 mph changeup to end the inning.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.