OAKLAND -- The A's, so good a year ago at never letting teams off the hook, don't seem to have that same ability this season.

The A's had a couple of early leads Wednesday but failed to add on when given the opportunity and wound up dropping a 5-3 decision to Seattle to bring a thoroughly unsatisfying homestand to an end.

Oakland's hitters went 1 for 9 with men in scoring position, and the lone hit didn't deliver a run. For the three-game series the A's were 2 for 22 with men in scoring position.

"Everything that we did today is what's wrong with us," manager Bob Melvin said after his team fell to 4-5 on the homestand, twice losing series to teams with sub-.500 records, Houston and Seattle.

"We didn't add on (runs) early on, we didn't make big pitches when we had to, we didn't come through in situational at-bats. Ugly, ugly game for us, and it's been going on for a while."

That failure to produce led to two losses that the A's can ill-afford if they are going to chase down Texas in the American League West. The A's now trail by 21/2 games after the Rangers beat Houston on Wednesday night.

The A's were playing with a 23-man roster, with outfielder Seth Smith (eye astigmatism) and catcher Derek Norris (fractured left big toe) unavailable. Then right fielder Josh Reddick sprained his right wrist diving for a ball and headed out of the Coliseum for an MRI. And the lone remaining catcher, Stephen Vogt, was knocked on his back and hit his head during a collision with Seattle's Dustin Ackley. Vogt was a little beat up but remained in the game.

Smith will fly with the team Thursday to Baltimore, where the A's open a weekend series against the Orioles on Friday. Smith is expected to be ready to play. Reddick and Norris are expected to make the trip, but their status ranges from possible (Reddick) to improbable (Norris).

Oakland doesn't have any healthy, experienced options to promote another catcher, so the A's are likely to try to go outside the organization to fill that need. The A's do have outfielders if Reddick is going to be out, with Michael Taylor and Michael Choice the likeliest options.

Still, promoting from Triple-A Sacramento isn't the answer to the A's overall problems heading into Baltimore and Detroit.

The answer, according to hitting coach Chili Davis, is for the players who are here "to do what they're supposed to do."

For the hitters, that would include being productive with men on base. For the pitchers, such as Wednesday starter A.J. Griffin, avoiding pointless walks and putting away hitters after getting two quick strikes. It was Griffin's inability to throw a good pitch to the worst hitter in the Mariners lineup that resulted in Brendan Ryan's two-out, two-run double on an 0-2 pitch that put Seattle ahead to stay in the sixth inning.

"I needed to get it down, and I gave him a pitch up that he could handle," Griffin said of throwing a hanging curve to Ryan, who had just 18 RBIs all season.

It was on that play that Ackley scored from first base, knocking over Vogt as the catcher applied a tag after hauling in a throw from left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Vogt was slow to get to his feet, so slow that the only player left with catching experience, third baseman Josh Donaldson, went to the dugout to find his catching gear.

Vogt said he was basically fine, but he and the A's had trouble accepting the call of "safe" from home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.

"At the time I thought I tagged him before he touched the plate," Vogt said. "After watching the replay, it showed I did."

Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin (64) throws in the first inning of their game against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.,
Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin (64) throws in the first inning of their game against the Seattle Mariners at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

That run was a little bad luck, a bad call that is going to happen with some frequency in a 162-game season. Luck had nothing to do with the runs the A's didn't score, however.

"Worse than that, we're leaving guys on third with less than two outs," Melvin said. "We're not getting guys over, and that's what cost us the game today. We've seen it for the better part of the second half.

"We continually address it, sometimes I think too much. It comes to a point where you just have to step up. You have to grind it, you have to get it done, and we're not."

  • Griffin walked four Wednesday after walking six and then five in his two previous starts. That's 15 walks in three games for Griffin, whose control has always been his strength. He had walked just 16 in the previous 14 games before the current slump. And the two homers he gave up leave him with a major league-worst 30, 22 of which have come with no one on base.

  • Jed Lowrie's first-inning triple was his second in two days after he hit none in the first 124 games of the season.

  • Coco Crisp said he went to the plate in the first inning determined to swing hard if he saw something he liked on the first pitch. The result was his 11th homer and his fourth to lead off the first inning this season.

  • Brandon Moss became the second A's player, after Yoenis Cespedes, to reach the 20-homer level this season when he broke a 1-1 tie with a leadoff homer in the fourth. Five of Moss' 20 homers have come against the Mariners.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Insider at blogs.ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.

    Friday's game

    A's (Dan Straily 6-7)
    at Baltimore (Bud Norris 3-1), 4:05 p.m. CSNCA