In a normal season, a three-game losing streak wouldn't be cause for much concern.
In this pandemic-delayed, 60-game campaign, it's magnified.
"It certainly is not a 162-game season where you just don't worry about things until you're 80-100 games in. The season is going to be over," Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "It's that way for every team."
The A's snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory at Seattle in 10 innings Saturday. The series continues Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Park.
Oakland, coming off back-to-back 97-win seasons, evened its record at 4-4. But the A's offense continues to struggle.
Oakland didn't score a run in six innings against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, tying the score on Chad Pinder's two-run homer in the seventh against the Seattle bullpen.
Robbie Grossman's pinch-hit double brought home the winning run in the 10th after the A's started the inning with a runner at second, part of baseball's new rules this season.
The A's went 1-for-20 with baserunners in scoring position during their skid and were only marginally better Saturday, going 2-for-10.
Oakland is batting .191 as a team and has a .589 on-base plus slugging percentage, second-to-last in the American League in the former and last in the latter.
"I was looking at our offensive numbers today, and they weren't great as far as the league goes," Melvin said. "We didn't have a good offensive game again, and when you're not hitting on all cylinders, you end up getting beat with the intrinsic stuff. We're gonna have to swing the bats better."
The Mariners, who had a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday, have gotten sterling starts the second time through their six-man rotation.
After Seattle's starters went 0-4 with a 10.55 ERA in the first six games, they haven't allowed an earned run in the past three, going 2-0 with just four walks and 23 strikeouts.
Right-hander Kendall Graveman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Mariners and make his first appearance against his former team, for whom he played from 2015-2018 and made two Opening Day starts.
Graveman, who missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery, made his first major league appearance in 808 days last week in Houston, suffering an 8-5 loss.
"I thought he threw the ball a lot better than his line will look like," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Graveman went four-plus innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Graveman, who admitted to choking back tears, said he wasn't satisfied and is looking forward to pitching against the A's for the first time.
"It was a blessing and a privilege to be back out there, but, man, I wanted the outcome to be better, as I'm sure many people did," Graveman said. "Now, it's time to go to work, continue to work and get better. I'm thankful that I'm healthy, but now the outcome has got to be better."
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is set to start for the A's after throwing four scoreless innings his first time out against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. Bassitt is 0-4 with a 4.58 ERA in eight career appearances against Seattle, including six starts.
--Field Level Media
Skid stopped, A's continue search for offense vs. Seattle
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