By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics’ 61-0 winning streak when they held a lead after seven innings was on the line Saturday versus the Texas Rangers. The A’s had a 6-4 lead after seven innings, but Texas veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre had other ideas about Oakland continuing that winning streak.
Beltre came to bat in the top of the eighth inning with teammate Nomar Mazara at first and his team trailing by two runs. With the count at 0-2, Beltre hit a Fernando Rodney pitch down the left-field line into the seats for a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6. It was home run No. 11 of the season for Beltre and his second of the game (his first multiple home run game of the season). The crowd of 20,504 became very concerned.
The Rangers brought RHP Chris Martin into the game from the bullpen. The first batter he had to face was Matt Olson who entered the game in the seventh inning for Mark Canha. Olson hit the 0-1 pitch from Martin over the fence in left field for his 25th home run of the year to give the A’s a 7-5 lead. After Chad Pinder flied out, Jonathan Lucroy singled. Ramon Laureano struck out for the second out of the inning. Matt Chapman, who leads the majors in doubles since the All-Star Break, hit an RBI-double to right field that allowed Lucroy to score the A’s eighth run of the game to give them an 8-6 lead.
The A’s went to the top of the ninth with an 8-6 lead which meant it was “Treinen Time.” Treinen took the mound and struck out the first two hitters he faced. Shin-Soo Choo then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a soft line drive to Marcus Semien for the final out of the game.
The A’s won the game 8-6 and upped their record for the season to 86-57. They have now won three consecutive games and have guaranteed that they will win this series with the Rangers. The A’s are now 11-0-2 in their previous 13 home series which is the longest single-season home series unbeaten streak in Oakland history.
Ryan Buchter (4-0) received credit for the victory and Blake Treinen of the A’s picked up his 37th save. Chris Martin (1-4) of the Rangers was hung with the loss.
The Astros beat the Red Sox on Saturday 5-3 in Boston so the A’s will stay 3.5 games back of Houston. The Mariners host the Yankees on Saturday night.
Bob Melvin analyzes the game
Performances worth remembering
- Khris Davis hit his 41st home run of the season in the home half of the first inning. He now has 10 round-trippers off Rangers pitching.
- Jed Lowrie hit his 36th double of the year in this contest, which ties him with Nick Swisher for third most for switch hitters in A’s history.
- Stephen Piscotty doubled in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
- Matt Olson’s 25 home runs lead the American League for most HR’s by a first baseman.
- Chad Pinder hit his 11th home run of 2018 in the sixth inning – a solo shot.
- The Rangers Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 15 out of 17 games versus the A’s this year.
- Jurickson Profar hit his 16th home run of the season in the fourth inning off Jackson.
Pitching was a group effort in this game
- Starter Edwin Jackson was credited for just 3.0 innings and was dinged for four runs (all earned) off five hits. He struck out five and walked just one but gave up two home runs.
- Shawn Kelley was back after his kitchen accident and pitched a perfect inning with two K’s.
- Lou Trivino worked a perfect inning of relief.
- Fernando Rodney was charged with blown save for giving up the two-run shot to Beltre.
- The A’s used eight pitchers.
- Oakland pitching gave up six runs (all earned) off six hits. They walked just one batter. A’s pitchers struck out 12 Texas hitters. They did give up three home runs.
- The Rangers used five pitchers in the game.
- All but one of those hurlers gave up at least one earned one. Ouch!
- Eddie Butler was the only reliever not to give up a run.
- Texas pitchers gave up eight runs (all earned) on nine hits. They struck out seven and walked six. The Rangers also issued three home runs to A’s hitters.
The series wraps tomorrow at 1:05 PM when the Rangers send RHP Ariel Jurado (2-4, 6.00) to the mound to face the A’s RHP Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.60).