BY PAUL GACKLE
OAKLAND — The boo birds showed up early on Thursday as the Oakland A’s epic slide continued at the O.co Coliseum.
The Coliseum crowd voiced its displeasure with the home team after the Texas Rangers scored four two-out runs in the first inning en route to a 7-2 victory.
“You get down in the first inning, it gets tough to find your fight,” A’s Manager Bob Melvin said.
The loss dropped the A’s into second place in the American League wild card race, a half-game behind the Kansas City Royals and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners. As a result, the A’s find themselves without at least a share of first place in the AL West or AL wild card standings for the first time since April 5 when they were 2-3.
Starting pitcher Sonny Gray (13-9) ran into trouble right out of the gates. With two outs and a runner on first in the top of the first, he surrendered four straight singles, putting the A’s in a 4-0 hole, fueling a chorus of boos from the home crowd.
Gray gave up four earned runs off eight hits over five innings of work.
“Other than the first, he threw the ball really well,” Melvin said.
Sam Fuld gave the A’s life in the third when he tripled to right, scoring Derek Norris and Coco Crisp, cutting the lead in half.
“It sparked the dugout,” Melvin said. “We felt like we were back in the game.”
But the Rangers closed the door by adding a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, handing the A’s their sixth loss in eight games.
With the loss, the A’s are now 11-25 since August 10, the worst record in Major League Baseball over that span.
“We’ll find ourselves in no position soon,” Melvin said, referring to the playoff race. “We need to worry about tomorrow’s game right now.”
NOTE: The A’s inked a four-year affiliation deal with the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League on Thursday. The club is moving its Triple-A affiliate to Nashville because its former parter, the Sacramento River Cats, recently signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants.