-- From the moment Leonys Martin beat out an infield single to lead off Tuesday night’s game at the Coliseum, it seemed like A’s right-hander Jesse Hahn was pitching through constant traffic on the base-paths in his Oakland debut.
Hahn allowed seven hits and hit two batters in his six innings. Yet few of the hits that he did allow in the A’s 3-1 loss to the Rangers were particularly well-struck. That added up to a frustrating outing for the 25-year-old, who allowed three runs and was saddled with the loss in his debut.
"I don’t think it was a bad start," Hahn said. "Obviously not the outcome I wanted. But I thought maybe one or two mistake pitches, and I don’t think things went my way tonight. Overall I felt good about it. Just wish we’d gotten the win."
After stranding the leadoff man in the first two innings, Hahn hit Rougned Odor with an inside curveball to start the third and paid as Prince Fielder blooped a two-out single over shortstop Marcus Semien’s head to score Odor. Hahn said he and catcher Stephen Vogt both thought he made "a great pitch … That’s one of those you kind of tip your cap."
In the fifth, Martin singled with one out and Elvis Andrus hit a slow chopper to the left side of the infield. Semien, though, had broken to cover second with Martin in motion and the ball hopped into left field for a single, sending Andrus to third. Fielder then lined a single to right field, where Craig Gentry let it scoot under his glove. Both runners came around to score, giving Texas a 3-0 lead.
Gentry said he "pulled my head up a little quick" to see where the runners were. "If I don’t make that error they might not score that third run, and it’s a 2-1 ballgame. But unfortunately it’s part of the game," Gentry said. "(Hahn) did a great job. We just couldn’t get anything going for him."
Manager Bob Melvin also said he thought Hahn pitched well and that, "really the only hard-hit ball he gave up in the sequence where he gave up some runs was the one to Fielder." Hahn did not issue any walks and struck out three batters. He displayed a big-breaking curveball to go with his low-90s fastball, but said he pulled a couple to left-handed batters which resulted in the hit-by-pitches.
One positive Hahn did take from the outing was his use of a changeup that he worked on mixing in this spring. Hahn said it was especially effective to steal a first-pitch strike on Fielder, who was "looking to tee the fastball."
"I thought it was a really good pitch tonight," Hahn said. "Anything to keep hitters off of my fastball and my curveball, just to show it. And I think I did that well tonight."
* Hahn was outdueled by Rangers starter Colby Lewis, a veteran with some prior success against the A’s. In 23 career outings against Oakland (21 starts), Lewis is 9-4 with a 3.15 ERA, and the nine wins are his most against any opponent.
Melvin said Lewis "seemed like he was on the corners the whole night with his cutter." Lewis’ strike-to-ball ratio wasn’t great (54 strikes, 39 balls), but Melvin attributed that to Lewis not giving in to the A’s hitters even when falling behind in counts.
The A’s had a chance to get to Lewis early, when Sam Fuld singled and Eric Sogard drew a walk to start the first inning. The Rangers’ trainer actually came out to check on Lewis after a pitch to Ben Zobrist. But Lewis stayed in the game and held the A’s to one run on three hits in six innings.
"That’s what he does, he uses all of his pitches and goes out there and competes," said Gentry, a former teammate of Lewis with Texas. "He did a good job tonight and threw all of his pitches for strikes and pretty much where he wanted to."
* Here’s the game story on the A’s bats going quiet a night after their eight-run output in the season opener. The roughest individual game Tuesday belonged to new third baseman Brett Lawrie, who struck out in all four of his at-bats on a total of 12 pitches.
"One of those nights," Lawrie said.
Lawrie showed some frustration after striking out against Neftali Feliz to end the game, but Melvin said he isn’t worried about Lawrie this early in the season.
"He hit a ball hard I think it was his last time up (Monday) for a hit," Melvin said. "You’re going to have some tough nights. He’ll be all right."
* Sam Fuld has tripled in each of the A’s first two games. He also tripled in back-to-back games last April 2 and 3, and is 4-for-8 in his first two games. We’ll see if Melvin leaves him near the top of the lineup against a left-hander tomorrow in Texas’ Ross Detwiler.
* Lastly, Melvin was asked about A’s pitchers having hit four batters through the first two games. Hahn hit two Tuesday night, reliever Jesse Chavez clipped Carlos Corporan with a pitch and opening night starter Sonny Gray also grazed a left-handed hitter.
Melvin said he thought Gray hit Odor on a "(protective) pad that sticks out about a foot" and that "Corporan might’ve kind of leaned into one. It’s not something I think we need to address at this point."