OAKLAND -- The A's susceptibility to one-run losses is not yet a thing of the past. Each of the club's first two games of the 2016 season have ended this way, bringing to mind a disappointing '15 season they've been longing to shut away.
It's hard not to be reminded of it on nights like Tuesday, though. Oakland's 5-4 loss to the White Sox was decided on a homer yielded by an unlikely source: closer Sean Doolittle. The lefty expected to anchor an overhauled bullpen this year, after one too many meltdowns from A's relievers unfolded last season while Doolittle was shelved on the disabled list, contributing to 35 one-run losses.
"It's really tough to come back in here, one-run loss again, at home, looking to get a win after a tough loss last night, and the guys rallied to come back," Doolittle said. "I'm disgusted with myself."
The lefty was sharp a second straight night, minus one pitch that scripted the ending. Doolittle attempted to elevate a 2-2 fastball to Jimmy Rollins with two outs in the ninth inning, coming minutes after Yonder Alonso's game-tying two-run single, but instead watched it disappear over the left-center field wall.
"I came up and in the previous pitch, got a swing and miss. It didn't get there," Doolittle said. "I didn't execute. I felt really good, I had swing and miss stuff tonight, and when I had to make a pitch with two outs and two strikes in a tie ballgame in the ninth, I didn't do it."
"He was throwing the ball good, just left one out a little more over the plate than he wanted to and probably a bit down," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He threw the ball like he did last night, just threw one pitch that Rollins capitalized on."
The A's bullpen was unscored upon through its first nine innings of work this series up until the ninth inning Tuesday, and it figures to be an area of strength despite the slip-up.
Right-hander Liam Hendriks, acquired from Toronto for pitcher Jesse Chavez this winter, had an impressive debut, entering with the bases loaded in the sixth and escaping it with a double play and continuing with two more scoreless frames. This after Fernando Rodriguez, Ryan Dull, John Axford, Ryan Madson and Doolittle combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings the night before.
"Everybody's contributed in the bullpen," Melvin said.
"The way Liam came in and picked us up, he did an outstanding job," Doolittle said. "Yonder comes up with the big hit there, the guys push two across to tie it against a really, really good reliever, and on top of that, I felt like I had good stuff. That was the one mistake I made that inning. Unfortunately he made me pay for it."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.