Photo credit: @Athletics
By Jerry Feitelberg
It was a very warm night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on Monday night as the Oakland A’s started a seven-game road trip against the Texas Rangers. The temperature at the start of the game was over 100 degrees, but that did not faze the A’s hitters one bit.
The Rangers had their best pitcher, Cole Hamels, on the mound. Hamels, a four-time All-Star and 2008 World Champion (with the Philadelphia Phillies), is having an off year so far this season. The 34-year old lefty was 5-8 for the year, but his home record was 1-6 at home.
The A’s countered with their lefty, Brett Anderson, who started the game with a record of 1-2 and has spent a lot of time on the DL. A’s manager Bob Melvin was hoping to get some innings from Anderson to not use his bullpen. Anderson did his job as he went six innings and allowed just two runs and six hits. That, baseball fans, is a quality start.
The A’s torched Hamels for five runs in the top of the second inning. Hamels walked Matt Olson to start the inning. Chapman reached on an infield single. Rougned Odor made a gallant effort trying to stop Chapman’s grounder from going into centerfield. Odor flipped the ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus stretched to grab the ball for the out, but he did not control of the ball as Olson’s slid in safely. Mark Canha singled sharply to right field to load the bases with no out.
Jonathan Lucroy was the next hitter. Lucroy was traded to the Rangers in 2016 and was with them until the trade deadline last year when the Rangers sent him to the Colorado Rockies. Lucroy had been with Hamels, who had a winning record when Lucroy was his catcher. Lucroy had hit only one home run so far the year but his second of the season was a grand salami. The ball was hit to deep center-field and barely made it over the fence. Statcast said the ball went 408 feet. The A’s were on the board, and it was just the beginning of the fireworks. The A’s plated another run to make it 5-0. Semien walked. Chad Pinder, who was 8-for-9 with three home runs in his career against Hamels, singled. Hamels retired Jed Lowrie, but was touched for a double by Khris Davis.
The Rangers scored two in the bottom of the third. Odor doubled and scored when Elvis Andrus homered. The A’s lead 5-2 after three. The A’s got the two runs back in the top of the fifth to take a 7-2 lead. With one out, Matt Olson singled. Stephen Piscotty homered for the thirteenth time this year to give the A’s a five-run lead. Hamels was done for the night. He went five innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits. He walked two, struck out five, and gave up two dingers.
Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister brought in another lefty, Matt Moore (former San Francisco Giant), to pitch the sixth inning. Moore set the A’s down in order. Banister should have given him the night off after that. Moore’s second inning of work was a disaster. The A’s scored six times on five hits. The big hit of the inning was a three-run blast off the bat of Matt Chapman. Moore gave up doubles to Lucroy and Semien to make it a 12-2 game. Banister brought in another lefty, Alex Claudio, who did not fare any better as Chad Pinder doubled on Claudio’s first pitch to drive in the sixth run of the game.
The A’s scored two more in the eighth, while the Rangers tallied just one. The A’s took game one by a lopsided score of 15-3.
Game Notes: The A’s continue to play well. They are now 24-7 in their last 31 games and are now 2 1/2 games behind the idle Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card slot.
The line score for Oakland was 15 runs, 18 hits including four home runs, and no errors.
The line for Texas was three runs, eight hits, and no errors.
The A’s are now 58-43, and Texas falls to 42-59.
Khris Davis hit his 24th home run of the run and his third in the last two games.
Matt Olson had two hits. Steven Piscotty had two hits, three RBIs, and a home run. Matt Chapman had three hits, four RBIs, and a three-run homer. Lucroy hit a grand slam to go along with a double.
Up Next: The A’s and Rangers will meet again on Tuesday at 5:05 pm PDT.
Texas will send left Mike Minor (6-6) to the hill, and Oakland will counter with Frankie Montas (5-2).