MILWAUKEE — 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 in the ninth after getting stymied for seven innings by Brewers starter Zach Davies. 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.