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Frankie Montas leaves early as A’s dreadful 1st half ends

One of the most dreadful first halves in Oakland A’s history ended Sunday in a frustrating and perhaps fitting way.

The A’s managed only four hits and saw one of their biggest potential trade chips in starter Frankie Montas exit after one inning in what became a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Elvis Andrus homered in the seventh inning but the A’s went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position as they lost three of four in the series and went 3-7 on the road trip that started with stops in Kansas City and New York.

The A’s are now 26-55, the second-worst record at the midway point in Oakland history, bettering only the 1979 team that was 23-58 at the halfway mark.

Entering Sunday, the A’s ranked last in MLB in batting (.213), on-base percentage (.274), slugging percentage (.330), and OPS (.604).

Of more immediate concern was the health of Montas, who exited Sunday’s game after he threw just 13 pitches in the first inning, including a 92 mph sinker that Mariners leadoff hitter Julio Rodriguez took over the left-field wall for a 1-0 Seattle lead. Montas also allowed an infield single to Eugenio Suarez.

Right-handed reliever Austin Pruitt warmed up in the A’s bullpen in the first inning and took over for Montas in the bottom of the second.

The A’s, per MLB.com, said they would provide an update on Montas after Sunday’s game, the last of a four-game set. A team spokesperson added that Montas has not been traded.

In the first inning, Montas’ four-seam fastball was measured at 94 mph, a pitch that is usually 2-4 mph faster.

Montas’ fastball got up to 99 mph on June 23 when he no-hit the Mariners through 7 2/3 innings at the Coliseum. Montas pitched eight scoreless, but the A’s allowed two runs in the ninth and lost to Seattle 2-1.

Montas entered Sunday with a 3-8 record and a 3.20 ERA and 99 strikeouts, although his record is a bit deceiving. Before Sunday, he had received one run of support or fewer in each of his last three starts and 10 of his last 11.

Because of his arm, Montas’ name has been bandied about in trade rumors, as teams looked to fortify their starting staffs before the Aug. 2 deadline. An injury, though, could cool those trade talks.

Pruitt kept the A’s in the game as he retired 12 straight batters from the second to the fifth inning, collecting six strikeouts. He allowed an RBI double to Rodriguez in the sixth inning as the Mariners took a 2-0 lead.

Oakland managed just three hits in the first six innings against Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray, who finished with 12 strikeouts. But Andrus’ home run, his fifth of the season and his fourth this year at T-Mobile Park, got Ray out of the game after 107 pitches.

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