SEATTLE (AP) — Just when Oakland got an unlikely home run from Eric Sogard, the Athletics’ defense let them down.
Sogard’s three-run shot gave the Athletics a spark, but an error by second baseman Jemile Weeks led to two unearned runs that were the difference in a 5-3 loss to Seattle on Sunday.
Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak both homered off Oakland starter Graham Godfrey. But it was Weeks’ risky decision to try for a difficult double play that led to Ichiro Suzuki’s tiebreaking double.
“My thought process is always to turn two. In that situation it should have been to go one since the ball didn’t dictate that we could get two,” Weeks said. “But I tried to force the issue and obviously it was the wrong decision.”
The A’s dropped two of three in Seattle. The teams now get a break from seeing each other — they began the season with two games in Japan, then played a pair of games in Oakland.
And the A’s break away from Seattle with questions still lingering about their hitters. After getting shut out on Saturday night, the A’s managed just seven hits on Sunday and all their runs came on one swing.
Seattle starter Blake Beavan (1-1) was cruising into the fifth when Kai Ka’aihue led off with a single. Anthony Recker’s jersey was brushed by Beavan’s inside pitch, putting two runners on with no outs.
Sogard, who had just one hit in his first 11 at-bats this season, then sent his third career homer into the seats in right field and pull the A’s even at 3.
But Sogard’s homer was immediately followed by Weeks’ mistake in the bottom half.
“A lot of times a game will have momentum shifts and there were a couple today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We didn’t do much offensively early on and then Sogard hits the homer, then we didn’t have a good defensive inning after that.”
Chone Figgins walked with one out and Dustin Ackley followed with a chopper to second. Instead of making a pivot and overhand throw, Weeks tried to make a back-handed flip and was well wide of the bag.
Suzuki followed with a double off the wall in right for a 4-3 lead and Smoak got himself another RBI when his tapper back to the mound was initially bobbled by Godfrey, allowing Ackley to score from third without a play at the plate.
“It was spinning hard and I lost it for a second,” Godfrey said of Smoak’s tapper. “I wasn’t in a good position to field the ball. I have to do a better job after I threw the ball of becoming the ninth fielder.”
Godfrey (0-2) pitched five innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs. But snapping streaks was the tone of the afternoon for the Mariners. Ryan hit his first homer before the home crowd after all three of his homers last season came on the road. Then Smoak snapped a skid of 11 straight at-bats without a hit when he lined a solo homer to right field with two outs in the third off Godfrey.
Ryan, who fouled off three two-strike pitches before homering, never once thought his ball was going to leave the yard.
“Never here. No, not ever. Not even from second base. No. No. So, yeah, that’s it. Just no,” Ryan said.
After the homer, Beavan was terrific. He retired the next three and nine of the final 10 batters before the Mariners went to their bullpen where Brandon League closed out his fourth save in as many chances working the ninth. Beavan went seven innings giving up just six hits and striking out four.
“You’ve got to have a short-term memory. If you give up a couple of runs and start thinking about it and not going after the guys the way you were before that you end up getting hurt and giving up more runs,” Beavan said. “Once I gave up the home run I had to stop the damage right there.”
NOTES: Oakland has yet to record 10 hits in any of its first 10 games this year. That matches the longest streak in Oakland history to begin a season. ... The Mariners and A’s won’t see each other again until late June in Seattle. ... Hall of Fame center Bill Russell threw out the first pitch on Sunday as part of the festivities honoring Jackie Robinson. Russell one-hopped his pitch to Figgins, then posed for a picture with the 5-foot-8 leadoff man.