A’s mess with Texas 11-5

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Lewis Rubman
SRS Contributor
April 23, 2019

TEXAS: 5 | 14 | 1

OAKLAND: 11 | 14 | 1

Tonight’s match-up between the Rangers’ Lance Lynn and the A’s Frankie Montás had a chance to be a pitchers’ duel. Lynn, in spite of his less than mediocre 4.44 ERA, had allowed only five runs in his last 18-22/3 innings pitched, while Montás took the mound at 3-1, 2.70 ERA. It didn’t turn out that way.

The Rangers drew first blood in the opening frame when Elvis Andrus hit a two-out broken bat single to center. Nomar Mazara drove him home with a double off the left center-field wall. Montás pitched out of the jam by getting the powerful Joey Gallo to swing and miss on a 2-2 split-fingered fastball.

Matt Chapman promptly tied it up with a home run that landed just inside the left-field foul pole with two out in the bottom of the first.

The Rangers came roaring back in the next inning with a lead off double to left-center, following by Astrúbal Cabrera’s ringing RBI single to left. Cabrera made it to second on a wild pitch, but was left stranded on third after Montás got Logan Forsythe and Isiah Kiner-Falefa out on infield grounders.

The A’s didn’t wait long to tie the score again. Stephen Piscotty opened their half of the frame with a triple high off the right center-field wall, and Kendrys Morales drove him home with a ground out to deep second base.

Montás finally notched a scoreless inning in the third with the help of a nifty 6-4-3 double play, Semien to Pinder to Morales. Lynn returned the favor in the bottom half top of the next inning but without requiring help from the pitcher’s best friend.

The top of the fourth tested Montás’s meddle. Gallo led off with a four pitch walk. Pence just barely beat out Chapman’s throw to first for an infield single. The Cabrera hit a nubbler down to Morales at first, who tossed the ball to Montás, who dropped it. Forsythe followed with the first well-hit ball of the inning, a bouncer to Chapman, who threw to Phegley at home for the force. Pheglely then fired the ball to Morales to complete the 5-2-3 double play. Montás ended the threat by inducing Kiner-Falefa to ground out to Pinder at second.

Oakland blew the game open with five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Piscotty opened the frame with a line drive single to left center. He advanced to second on Morales’s line single to left. Piscotty made it to third, and Morales was forced out at second on Pinder’s grounder to Forsythe. Laureano drove in Piscotty and advanced Pinder to second on a single to center. Phegley drove in the two runners with a Mark Ellis double down the third base line. Robbie Grossman drove him in with a single to right. Semien brought him home on the next pitch with a double to left, After Semien advanced to third on a wild pitch, he scored on Davis’ single to left. At that point, Wei-Chieh Huang, called up from Double A Midland this afternoon, made his MLB debut in relief of Lynn. He escaped the inning by retireing Piscotty and Morales on deep fly balls, the former’s to the center field wall.

The rookie wasn’t so lucky in the fifth, surrendering two runs on a single by Pinder, a double by Laureano and a throwing error by second sacker Danny Santana.

Huang lasted another two-thirds of an inning, leaving two men on base in the sixth when he gave way to Jeffrey Springs with two men on base. Springs left them there and finished up the game for the Rangers, but not before surrendering a tally in the eighth when Pinder singled Piscotty–who had his second four-hit game of the season– home from second.

The game was over when Texas picked up a run on Forsythe’s sac fly in the top of the sixth. After Montás walked the next batter, Kiner-Falefa, Melvin brought in Yusmeiro Petit, who disposed Shin-Soo Choo with a called third strike on a full count with two outs and a man on first.

Montás’ line wasn’t impressive. Three runs earned on nine hits, two walks and a wild pitch in 5 2/3 innings. The bright spots were his six strikeouts and his ability to keep bad situations from becoming worse.

Ryan Dull came in for Oakland in the eighth. He got through that frame unscathed, but allowed a two-run homer to Danny Santana in the ninth. After the one-out dinger, Dull retired Andrus, but a single and double by Mazara and Gallo, stirred up the A’s bullpen. Dull prevailed with a called third strike on Pence.

Montás got the win, Lynn took the loss.

Left-hander Drew Smyly (0-2, 7.80 ERA) had been announced to start tomorrow afternoon’s game for the Rangers, but he’s been placed on 10-day injured list with left mid-arm tightness. Wei-Chieh Huang, who got his baptism of fire at the Coliseum tonight, took his place.

Texas has not yet named a starter for Wednesday. Whoever he is, he’ll face right handed Aaron Brooks (2-2, 5.32 ERA), who held the Red Sox scoreless on two hits over six innings on April 1, but has been struggling to regain the same form.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:37 pm.

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