MILWAUKEE (AP) — Sean Manaea made two big mistakes in an otherwise solid seven-inning outing.
Unfortunately for the Oakland rookie, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Chris Carter pounced on each bad pitch.
Manaea struck out six while allowing five runs and six hits, including two homers to Carter, and the Athletics’ ninth-inning rally fell short in a 5-4 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
“One of his better games. It really came down to two pitches. He got deep into the game and gave us seven innings,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
It’s especially important for an Oakland rotation that has struggled, for the most part, outside of Rich Hill.
The lineup nearly bailed out Manaea (2-4) in the ninth after getting stymied for seven innings by Brewers starter Zach Davies (4-3). He didn’t allow a hit until Billy Butler’s two-run shot with two outs in the seventh.
But the Athletics’ ninth started with a fortuitous single after Billy Burns’ hard bouncer up the middle deflected off the glove of closer Jeremy Jeffress.
The A’s put runners at second and third with nobody out and trailing by three. One run scored on a groundout before another came home on a throwing error by shortstop Jonathan Villar.
“The intensity turned up real quick once we scored a couple of runs,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We certainly had an opportunity against a closer who has been pretty good this year.”
With runners on the corners, Jeffress got Marcus Semien swinging on a pitch out of the zone before ending the game by getting Chris Coghlan to fly out to the warning track in left.
Jeffress held on for his 16th save.
Davies allowed two hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out five. Butler turned on an 0-1 fastball from Davies to end the shutout.
“He was just down in the zone, over and over and over. He was very good tonight,” Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said about Davies.
His command got better as the game wore on. Davies isn’t known as a fastball pitcher, though he does throw four effective pitches.
“When you’ve got four pitches and you’re able to make pitches, it’s difficult on a hitter,” manager Craig Counsell said.
Reliever Tyler Thornburg tossed a perfect eighth and extended a franchise record for a reliever with 26 straight batters retired.
Outfielder Ryan Braun got his 1,500th career hit with an infield single in the sixth. Carter had his third two-homer game of the season.
“It’s always a pleasure to watch that, especially when you’re pitching out there, too,” Davies said.
Athletics: Third baseman Danny Valencia was scratched from the starting lineup with a stomach bug, replaced by Yonder Alonso. ... OF Khris Davis returned to Miller Park for the first time since being traded by Milwaukee to Oakland for two minor leaguers in February. Davis was not in the starting lineup because of numbness and tingling in his hands and fingers after getting hit in the elbow with a pitch on Saturday against Houston.
Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn (2-3) is 1-2 with an 8.05 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on May 17.
Brewers: After an inconsistent start to the season, RHP Chase Anderson (3-6) is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in his last four outings.