Oakland — Jharel Cotton surrendered 886 feet of home runs to Nelson Cruz on Wednesday afternoon in what proved to be yet another unfortunate outing for the Oakland A’s right-hander.
“He’s having a great season, a great series against us,” Cotton explained after the 6-3 loss. “Right now he’s a hard out.”
The All-Star right-fielder has been wearing the A’s out all year, collecting 22 RBI in 13 games to set a Mariner record for most RBI against Oakland in a single season.
Cruz tagged Cotton for a two-run, 450-foot blast in the top of the third. Cruz’s first drive of the day left his bat an at exit velocity of 115 mph and gave the Seattle Mariners a comfortable 5-1 advantage.
“The homers kind of did him in,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Other than that, we needed at least six innings out of our starter today. So at the end he seemed like he got a little better. You’ve just got to keep them down earlier, minimize the damage some.”
“When you give up home runs with guys on base it ends up costing us and putting you in a hole,” Melvin added.
Cruz’s second home run of day came a couple innings later when he slammed an 89 mph cutter off the green batter’s eye that stands beyond the center-field wall. The blast traveled some 436 feet, exiting at a velocity of 112 mph.
During Cotton’s six innings of work, all six runs scored via the long ball. The first of those three homers came off the bat of Kyle Seager, who put Cotton and the A’s at a 3-0 disadvantage in the top of the first.
“It was three not-executed pitches and that cost me today and that cost the team a victory,” Cotton said.
Since returning from a stint on the 10-day disabled list on July 30 (right thumb blister), Cotton has struggled to find any consistency. The starter has allowed 14 runs in 14.2 innings.
“There’s still some season left,” Melvin said when asked to assess Cotton’s first full year. “I mean, he started out really strong. Some injured have affected it and he hasn’t been able to get on a roll since he’s been back.”
After Seager’s first-inning long ball, Matt Joyce replied with a homer of his own — his 15th — half an inning later. Khris Davis also connected on a solo shot in the third, his second in as many days and his 31st overall. The club’s third and final run came courtesy of a fifth-inning Jed Lowrie double.
Wahl set for doctor’s appointment
Before Wednesday’s loss, the A’s said that Bobby Wahl, on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained right shoulder, is going to meet wit Dr. Gregory Pearl in Dallas.