CINCINNATI In one of the most dispiriting offensive performances of the Oakland season, the A's floundered time and again with men in scoring position Tuesday, only avoiding a shutout on a two-out ninth-inning homer by Derek Norris in a 3-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
"It was frustrating, absolutely frustrating," first baseman Brandon Moss said. "We came in here leaving the Coliseum, knowing this is a great place to hit, and then we didn't hit."
The A's also didn't hit at the Coliseum on Sunday, getting shut out by Texas 4-0. The A's had gone 18 2/3 innings without getting a run across the plate before Norris' eighth homer averted the first back-to-back shutouts of the season for Oakland.
But Great American Ball Park is one of the best hitters' venues in the major leagues. What does it say when the A's come in and get five hits, leave five on base while going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position?
"It means it's time to move on," Moss said. "That's the beauty of this sport. Tomorrow is another day, another chance to win. Another beauty of it is that it's just August. We have plenty of time to get out of this funk."
Manager Bob Melvin's postgame words didn't indicate any roiling frustration on his part, certainly not enough to call a team meeting. But that doesn't mean there aren't changes in the works. The Reds are following Tuesday's starter, Mat Latos (11-3) by throwing another right-hander, Homer Bailey (6-10).
"We're one game under .500 in the second half," Melvin said of the A's, 8-9 since the All-Star break. "I don't know that it calls for a team meeting. But we could see some different guys in there tomorrow."
One of those is Norris, who hit a 3-2 pitch off lefty closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth Tuesday. Another could be lefty Seth Smith even though he's had his own struggles at the plate lately.
For the A's, in the midst of a pennant race, they will have to score runs to go on a run. With Oakland trying to fend off fast-closing Texas, it can't happen soon enough.
Notes The big news for the A's on Monday was that there was no news Bartolo Colon wasn't named in the Biogenesis probe and, having served his suspension last year, won't have to serve one in double jeopardy this time around.
"I'm glad I was right about that one," Melvin said. "It would have been quite a loss for us." Colon, who pitches in tonight's finale, has a 14-3 record and 2.50 ERA, which leaves him tied for second in baseball in wins and ranked third in the American League in ERA.
Eric Sogard's double in the first inning Tuesday night extended his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games during which he is averaging .356. It was his 19th double after having just six doubles over bits of the last three seasons with the A's.
Melvin suggested a day off may be likely for third baseman Josh Donaldson, but it may not happen until the homestand, which begins Tuesday as the Astros come to town.