A’s to host Rangers in weekend series starting Friday night

Photo credit: markmoneyhoffman.com

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s will host the Texas Rangers at the Coliseum for three games beginning Friday night. It will be the final time the teams will meet this season.

The Rangers find themselves in last place in the AL West with a 61-79 record. The Rangers had hoped to have had a better record as they put together a lineup with hitters that could put runs on the board. On the other hand, their pitching could not keep the other team from putting more runs on the board.

The A’s, who have an off-day on Thursday, after 20 consecutive games, find themselves in a race for either one of two possibilities. The A’s are 3.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the race for first place in the AL West.

If the A’s were to win the division, they would not have to play in the one-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams. They are also 3.5 games behind the New York Yankees for the first Wild Card slot. The first Wild Card hosts the game at their home park. If the A’s finish in the second spot, they would have to fly to New York for the game.

Also, history is not on the side of the second Wild Card. The home team usually, but not always, prevails when the one-game playoff is held at their home stadium.

The A’s have a lot to play for this weekend. While they have successfully handled the Rangers so far this year, they cannot take them lightly. The Rangers would love nothing more than upsetting the A’s apple cart.

Below are the A’s and Rangers pitching matchups:

On Friday night, The A’s will send Chris Bassitt to the hill. Bassitt has pitched well at times, but he has not been as consistent as the team had hoped. However, in his last start against Minnesota, he went 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run. The A’s could potentially use an “opener” when a bullpen pitcher to start the game and then bring in Bassitt after the first or second innings.

The Rangers will counter with the veteran hurler Yovani Gallardo who has a 8-3 record and a 5.97 ERA. Gallardo beat the Twins 7-4 in his last start. His line was pitched five innings and gave up three runs. Gallardo has a 5-2 record with a 4.07 ERA in his last eight starts.

On Saturday, the A’s Edwin Jackson will pitch for the Green and Gold. Jackson has a 5-3 record and a 2.91 ERA so far this year. In his last start, Jackson went six innings and allowed just one run and three hits.

The Rangers will start Yohender Mendez. Mendez recorded his first MLB win last Sunday when he beat the Twins. He pitched six scoreless innings and allowed three hits while walking one and striking out three. He has a 1-1 record and a 5.59 ERA for the season.

On Sunday, Trevor Cahill will start for the A’s, and Texas has not yet announced their pitcher. Cahill has a 6-3 record and a 3.60 ERA. The big righty has pitched extremely well at the Coliseum this year. In his nine starts at home, he has a 5-0 record and a 1.09 ERA. He beat the Yankees last Monday before 41,000 fans. He allowed the Yanks’ three runs (two earned) and five hits while walking one and striking out three.

The A’s pitching will have their hands full as they try to stop the Rangers’ hitters. The Rangers’ infield consists of Ronald Guzman at first, Rougned Odor at second, Elvis Andrus at short, and Adrian Beltre at third. The Rangers’ outfield will be patrolled by Shin-Soo-Choo, Joey Gallo, and Nomar Mazara. Robinson Chirinos will handle the catching. Every one of these players can hit the ball out of the park.

The A’s also have big boppers. They have five guys that have hit 20 or more balls out of the park this season. Part-time players such as Mark Canha and Chad Pinder are in double figures in that department.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the A’s cannot let their guard down. The team knows what’s at stake and their manager Bob Melvin will prepare them. The A’s are 84-57 and have 21 games left to play. They have to keep winning, and they will need help from other teams if they are to move up in the standings.

The Boston Red Sox could really help the A’s as they host the Astros at Fenway Park this weekend, and have six more, three at home and three in New York, against the Yanks. The Red Sox would love nothing more than upsetting the Yanks’ apple cart.

The surprise team and feel good story of the 2018 season have been the A’s. The players know they are good and they are showing the world what they can do.

Huge Third Inning Lifts A’s to Sweep of Rangers

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland Athletics (18-10) rode a huge seven-run third inning to exact revenge on the hosting Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, sweeping their American League West foes one week after suffering the same fate at the hands of the enemy from the Lone Star State. With the series win, including a 12-1 game three blowout over the 2010 and 2011 World Series Runner-ups, the A’s now sit three games ahead of the Rangers (15-13) for first in the division, with the green and gold owning the best record in the AL.

Jesse Chaves (2-0, 1.89 ERA) pitched seven innings of one-hit baseball, surrendering no runs on eight strikeouts and a lone walk. Oakland tagged Rangers starter Robbie Ross Jr. (1-2, 3.86) for 10 runs, six earned, over 3 1/3 innings. The Athletics also knocked Rangers relievers Alexi Ogando and Shawn Tolleson for a run apiece.

Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Cespedes and Eric Sogard had RBI base hits in a seven-run third inning. Alberto Callaspo and Nick Punto also knocked in runs on outs in the frame. Derek Norris hit a run-scoring single in the fourth, as did Sogard to make it a 10-0 A’s lead. Callaspo plated Donaldson on a fifth-inning single off Ogando and Crisp launched a solo home run, his third of the season, to right center with two outs in the sixth to complete the A’s 12-run day.

Josh Wilson connected on an RBI double off reliever Luke Gregerson in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Rangers their lone score in the series finale. Jim Johnson gave up one hit in the ninth to finish off the A’s sweep of their divisional rival.

The A’s continue their road trip in first place, traveling to Boston to face the reigning World Series Champion Red Sox for a three-game set. The A’s will send Dan Straily to the mound to open the series after an off-day Thursday. The Red Sox rotation is yet to be set with a double-header against the Tampa Bay Rays on the books after a rainout Wednesday night.

 

Finishing Blow Elusive as A’s Strand 10 Against Darvish, Rangers

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND, Calif. –Few teams can say they own All-World talent Yu Darvish, staff ace for the Texas Rangers. The Oakland Athletics can stake claim to that distinction, sporting a 6-1 lifetime record against the Japanese import including a sterling 2-0 record against the international sensation at O.Co Coliseum. Though Darvish didn’t manage his first win in his career in the confines of Alameda County Monday evening, his Rangers outlasted the Oakland A’s (13-6), erasing a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory.

“It was a very competitive game,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “It was about as close as you can get. They had their ace on the mound. We had them on the run early but recovered well enough to keep him in the game and go to their key bullpen guys.”

Neal Cotts (1-1, 3.38 ERA) picked up the win in relief, Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Rangers (12-8) and former Oakland middle infielder Donnie Murphy singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead the Rangers to a come-from-behind triumph over the American League West leaders. Brandon Moss hit his fourth round tripper of the season and Coco Crisp moved into sole possession of fourth place on the A’s career stolen base list, swiping two bags to move past Carney Lansford with 147 pilferings in his time in green and gold.  Crisp also made an incredible leaping catch in center with his back to home plate, but came up lame clutching his ribs on a diving attempt later in the game.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” said Melvin. “It’s the second time he’s dove and knicked that area up a little bit.”

Dan Straily battled Darvish pitch-for-pitch before relinquishing a tied game to his bullpen in the sixth inning. Texas saddled reliever Sean Doolittle (0-1, 3.38 ERA) with the loss after the lefty struggled in the eighth to snuff out a Ranger rally. Jason Frasor, Cotts, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria held the A’s scoreless over three innings of relief.

Choo greeted Straily with his 12th career leadoff homerun, launching a liner to right for his second long ball of the season and a 1-0 Rangers Lead. Choo later left the game in the seventh inning after suffering left leg tightness when he grounded out on a slow roller to third. Josh Donaldson barehanded the ball for the bang-bang play at first with Choo originally being called safe by first base umpire Adrian Johnson. Melvin challenged the play and, after the replay was reviewed, the call of safe on the field was overturned by crew chief Larry Vanover.

“I heard that he was out,” said Melvin. “Based on the replay I was seeing, I wasn’t sure about it. At that point in time I’m going to challenge it anyway. After the seventh inning the umpires get together, so that was one I would probably challenge either way.”

Moss answered Choo’s dinger with a solo shot of his own in the home half of second, depositing a Darvish delivery just inside the foul pole and beyond the fence. For Moss, the four-bagger marks his fourth of the season and fourth-career off Darvish. Moss accounts for 4 of 41 total career round-trippers for Darvish, nearly ten percent.

The Athletics rally continued when a two-out single to left by Crisp brought Josh Reddick and Eric Sogard around for a two-run edge. It would complete all the scoring Oakland mustered off Darvish, who saw his string of consecutive seven-plus innings starts snapped at three 2014 appearances.

“When he’s out there, we know it’s going to be a pretty low-scoring game,” said Donaldson of Darvish. “We jumped out pretty early. Early on he was coming at us, throwing harder. He ran it up to 96 (miles per hour) then once he got settled in, he started changing speeds which is what he does best.”

The 56-million-dollar man came into play Monday with a 0.82 ERA after allowing two runs in 22 innings on the campaign, but the A’s nearly doubled his ERA to a still-miniscule 1.61 with their three earned runs over six innings. Monday also marked the first time in nine-straight starts that an opposing team scored more than two runs on last season’s batting-average-against leader. Darvish collected six punch-outs in the no-decision, firing a laboring 116 pitches.

Texas cut the deficit in half off Straily after Prince Fielder opened the fourth inning with a double to the corner in left followed by a RBI single by Ex-Athletic Kevin Kouzmanoff. Straily settled down to retire the next three batters in order. Kouzmanoff, the reigning American League Player of the Week for his 10-for-29 performance with two home runs and eight RBIs, finished the day with two hits, an RBI and scored the game-winning run.

A two-out rally in the visiting portion of the fifth inning led to the game-tying run. Fielder hit the third of three consecutive singles to plate Elvis Andrus. Straily then threw a wild pitch to put Alex Rios, the second single of the trio, and Fielder in scoring position, but got Kouzmanoff to chase a 1-2 slider to end the inning and close the book on his day.

“He was spotty at times,” said Melvin on his starting pitcher. “He recovered nicely from the first batter in the game hitting a home run. He had two outs in the fifth and tried to finish that one off, couldn’t do it. At times I thought he threw the ball well, there were times he was maybe a little bit off his command.”

Straily’s pitching line including five innings of work with three runs, all earned on 84 pitches. He struck out six and walked only two but turned the game over to Ryan Cook with no chance at being named the winning pitcher.

“Tonight I was pretty proud of myself,” said Straily. “I never really felt like I was out of any at-bats except having to work my way back into it early. I don’t really feel too down on myself. My first-pitch command was just terrible tonight. That’s something you can’t have out there. I gave it everything I had, I just wasn’t able to get it done there in the fifth.”

Oakland looked poised to add a cushion to its lead after Daric Barton singled to center on a soft liner, marking the fourth-straight inning the A’s leadoff man reached base. Sogard bounced into the momentum-sapping double play but Crisp and catcher John Jaso reached base then stole third and second respectively with Jed Lowrie at the plate. Lowrie coaxed a two-out walk to load the bases for Josh Donaldson, but the “Bringer of Rain” continued an A’s drought with runners in scoring position on the night. Donaldson went around on a check-swing for the third strike on a ball low in the strike zone.

“It’s just one of those things,” said Donaldson. “He’s a good pitcher. He started to bear down on us a little bit. We came up there with the bases loaded and he came in there with a pretty good slider for strike three. The guy’s good. He’s not just your run-of –the-mill guy.”

Donaldson represented one one of seven A’s outs in 10 opportunities with runners on second or third. The A’s left 10 men on base Monday.

“The goal is to get guys on base,” said Donaldson. “We were able to do that. More times than not when we’re going to come through in those situations. Tonight was one of those days where it didn’t happen.”

Ryan Cook and Fernando Abad combined to pitch a scoreless inning apiece before turning the game over to heir-apparent to the closer role, Sean Doolittle, in the eighth inning. Doolittle recently received a five-year extension with the A’s that many suspect puts him in line to take over the ninth inning role at some point in his career. Oakland fans hope Monday doesn’t represent a harbinger of things to come from the bearded southpaw.

Texas opened Doolittle’s frame with Kouzmanoff rocketing a ball to right center that Reddick couldn’t snag on a leap at the wall. Designated hitter Mitch Moreland advanced Kouzmanoff to third on a sacrifice bunt then Kouzmanoff scored on a Murphy bouncer up the middle, the game-winning base knock. Doolittle got Leonys Martin to fly out for the second out before being lifted for Dan Otero. Otero finished off the inning, then pitched a scoreless ninth to keep Oakland within one.

“After they got the bunt down, I snuck one past Murphy,” said Doolittle. “I thought I was going to find a way to get him out. I was doing a good job of staying short. I thought I made a good pitch. The pitch to Kouzmanoff was not a good pitch. The pitch to Murphy was well-executed. He just did a good job of smoking it back up the middle.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington, a former infield coach with the A’s, called on his closer Soria to shut the door on the A’s in the ninth. Soria got Jaso to strike out for the fourth time Monday night before Lowrie reached base then advanced to second on an error at short by Andrus. Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes, who nearly tied the game on a deep drive in a pinch-hit pop-out in the seventh, lifted fly balls for the final two outs and Soria’s fourth save of the season.

“I thought when he hit it, it was out,” said Melvin of Cespedes’ loud out in the seventh. “I know on a cold night it’s difficult here, especially in the big part of the ball park. He hits one good and it normally goes out.”

The A’s will look to get on track again in Tuesday night’s tilt which will feature Tommy Milone opposing Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez before a finale between young pitching sensations Sonny Gray and Martin Perez Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers will look to hand Oakland its first loss of more than two runs this season.

Larry Levitt on Sharks and Bulls hockey

 by Larry Levitt

DALY CITY–The San Jose Sharks who opened up their first three games at SAP Arena and won all three there’s nothing like home cooking that makes a big difference. The team is well rounded they have strength throughout all four lines now. The fourth line is a little weaker than what I would have expected but surprisingly their coming through really strong probably the biggest surprise obviously is just analyzing the guys individually it looks like Joe Pavelski has taken his game to another level too.

Pavelski is one of those players that’s out on the ice a lot and does a lot of the little things that doesn’t get noticed by most people and it’s really exciting to see him have a good year. For Tomas Hertl scoring four goals on Tuesday night against the New York Rangers he doesn’t speak much English so maybe when the fans are yelling at him he doesn’t get too excited and doesn’t realized what he’s done or what he hasn’t done and he’s a 19 year old rookie.

Hertl is exciting the best part he puts the fun back into the game he’s always smiling and on the other hand you have to feel sorry for the Rangers they were playing on back to back nights coming from Los Angeles where they played the Kings the night before and it was a tough game. They really didn’t have their legs and were always slow to the puck and there have never been more pucks that have bounced the right way than that night.

Everytime the puck went off something it went right to a Shark and Joe Thornton got a lucky bounce it was a clearing pass it went off the end of a stick that was laying on the ice that was broken and went right to Thornton so he was able to pass it right up to Hertl and there was a goal. Every bounce seemed to go right for the Sharks that night to a Shark player.

The Rangers goalie Hendrick Lundquist was pulled from the game and sometimes when you pull the goalie to make a statement to your team because they’re not playing well and sometimes you pull the goalie because he’s not playing well. It was a combination of both but the team didn’t really support him at the beginning the Rangers did get the first goal of the game but it was on a five on three power play but after that they really didn’t support him. They were really slow to the puck and when they were shooting it and getting the puck they were trying to knock it off the boards and it would bounce right to the Sharks players.

The Sharks win that one 9-2 and played the Canucks on Thursday night and continue their winning streak now at 4-0 after winning their first road game in Vancouver.

San Francisco Bulls update: Bulls head coach Pat Curcio is quite a head coach and he’s really helped a lot of players and one of the players actually made it to the NHL playing for Toronto they see that Curcio has a lot of heart he’s put a lot into the team and therefore their going to try and benefit from that and make their career better for that reason.

The Bulls are an exciting club to watch in their first year they did very well they made the playoffs their expectations were set any lower. The thing is just keep that exciting brand of hockey going and keep it out in the neighborhood that their playing well and playing hard and the people who are really enjoying the sport will come watch them.

The longest part of travel for the Bulls are when they make their long trek to Alaska to play the Aces which they have on tap for the first week in April. The Bulls will miss the freezing ice and snow and the beginning of April will work for them. The players love to play the sport it’s just a matter of the travel and once your in the ice rink and skating it’s all just a game.

As far as the travel when your in a minor league set up like the ECHL your going to have the buses your going to have the long drives not as much luxury but that’s part of paying your dues to get in the Big Boy league.

The Bulls have a long eight game road trip to open up the season with the rodeo coming to the Cow Palace which takes precedence so they’ll melt the ice after these two pre season games at the Cow Palace. The Bulls will go on the road and sometimes being on the road forces a team together more and maybe be more solid of team players. There’s no where to hide when your own the road. Your so close to each other and that might be a benefit if they play their cards right they make it a benefit.

Larry Levitt does weekly commentary on San Francisco Bulls and San Jose Sharks hockey for Sportstalk Radio

Rangers beat the A’s, back in first place

by Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s squared off against the Texas Rangers Tuesday night at the Coliseum in the battle for first place in the AL West division.  Bartolo Colon was on the hill for the A’s but he did not go past the fifth inning again as the A’s lost to the Rangers 5-1. Colon’s record drops to 14-6 and  he has not won since late July. The Rangers’ starter, left-handed pitcher Martin Perez went 7 innings allowed eight hits but just one run in winning his 9th game of the year. The Rangers are now in first place and the A’s are just a game behind.  The game summary follows.

The A’s took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Coco Crisp doubled and then scored on a single by Yoenis Cespedes. The Rangers tied the score in the third on a home run off the bat of Mitch Moreland.

The Rangers scored three unearned runs in the fifth to take a 4-1. Bartolo  Colon was charged with an error when he couldn’t handle a ball hit right back to him. The Rangers then put together a double and two singles to put the three runs on the board.

The Rangers’ Alex Rios hit his fourteenth home run of the year  to start the eighth inning. Rangers now lead 5-1.

The A’s could do nothing against the Rangers bullpen and the final score was 5-1 in favor of Texas.

Game notes- Josh Donaldson made the defensive play of the year that will be a web gem for sure.

He made a great backhand catch of a foul ball while falling behind the tarp on the third base side of the diamond.  Bob Melvin said “you won’t see a better play than that.” Melvin also commented that he took Colon out of the game after five inning as “he had thrown 80 plus pitches and took a ball off his hand.” He didn’t think Texas knocked Colon around but Colon hit 92 MPH on the radar game just once or twice. Most of his pitches were 87-89 MPH.

The A’s lost for just the third time in their last eleven games and snapped a four game winning streak.

Yoenis Cespedes was 2 for 4 and it was his third straight two hit game. Michael Choice recorded his first Major League hit.

The A’s play the Rangers again Wednesday at 12:35. Sonny Gray will be pitching for the A’s hoping to get his third win of the season and he will be opposed by the Rangers ace, Yu Darvish who has a record of 12-6.

The A’s recalled left handed pitcher Tommy Milone from Single-A Stockton and right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner from Triple-A Sacramento. The A’s also selected right-handed pitcher Pat Neshek from Sacramento. To make room on the 40 man roster, the A’s designated lefty Hideki Okajima for assignment. Luke Montz , who was designated for assignment on Sunday, was released.

 

Attendance was 16,133

The A’s win, back in first place

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s, just a game behind the Rangers, opened a three game series with the Division leaders starting on Labor Day. This is going to be a huge series. The A’s will need to win two out three to be even with Texas for the division lead. The last thing either team wants to be is a Wild Card Entry. The Rangers found that out last year when they lost a one game playoff to the Orioles and were eliminated.

The 23,495 people who were here in attendance were not disappointed as the A’s beat the Rangers 4-2 and  the A’s moved into a first place tie with the Rangers. Dan Straily started for the A’s and went five innings getting credit for his eighth win of the year. The Rangers’ starter, Derek Holland, took the loss. Both teams now have an identical record of 79-58 with 25 games left in the season.

The A’s took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run for his 21st home run of the year. Alberto Callaspo doubled and scored on a single by Chris Young.  The Rangers tied the game in the top of the fifth. Straily walked Mitch Moreland to start the inning and Moreland scored when David Murphy homered to tie the score.

The A’s came back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Choice reached first on a throwing error by Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre. Coco Crisp followed with a home run that barely made it over the left field wall and the umpires called it a home run but decided to review the play. After a minute or two, the umps came back and ruled in the A’s favor. A’s now lead 4-2.

There was no more scoring. Bob Melvin used four relievers to close out the Rangers. The Rangers did threaten a couple of times. Dan Otero worked out of a jam in the sixth and Grant Balfour had men on second and third with two outs in the ninth. Balfour got Beltre to ground out to end the game and earn his 36th save of the year.

Game notes- The A’s have won four straight and seven of the last eight and are in first place since August 9th. Dan Straily is 3-1 with in ERA of 2.63 during day games. Strailly when asked after the game if there was any extra pressure on him for this game replied “Not really, but you understand the magnitude of the situation.”  Coco Crisp hit his 17th home run of the year which is a career high. Crisp has homered 7 times in his last 12 games. Crisp left the game with when he hit a foul ball off his right shin. Bob Melvin said “it is a right shin contusion and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”  Michael Choice made his Major League debut and walked his first time up and reached on an error. Melvin said Choice reaching on the error”was a huge play in the game.” Melvin used Brett Anderson in relief.  Melvin said that he would keep him there for a while as the starting rotation is ok. Grant Balfour picked up his 36th save of the year but it was not easy. However, Balfour worked out the jam and Melvin commented that “Balfour had to find a little extra will and would have to make a pitch and get out of the game.”

Game two of the three game series will be Tuesday night at the Coliseum. Game time will be 7pm.

Bartolo Colon(14-5) will start for the A’s and the Rangers’ will send  lefty Martin Perez(8-3) to the mound.

Game time 2 hours and 28 minutes.

A’s offense comes up empty, lose to Rangers 4-0

August 4, 2013

by Kahlil Najar and Emily Zahner

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OAKLAND, CA — The Oakland Athletics (64-47) lost the rubber match against the Texas Rangers (62-50) on Sunday afternoon, shortening their American League West division lead to 2.5 games. Rangers’ starter Derek Holland (9-6) continued his dominance against Oakland, keeping the A’s bats quiet through his eight innings pitched, only allowing five hits and striking out 10; this was the third time this year Holland has fanned ten hitters. Through the first six, Holland had only allowed one hit and had already struck out seven, only surrendering a single up the middle to A’s first baseman Nate Freiman in the second. Holland, who recorded his first win since July 13th, is now 5-2 lifetime against the A’s.

“Holland pitched well. Probably the best we’ve seen him pitched in a while. They had a good zone for him and made the change up hard to deal with today ” A’s Manager Bob Melvin had to say on Holland. The game was a pitchers duel, as A’s starter A.J. Griffin (10-8) who was credited with his 8th loss of the season, performed well through six and two-thirds innings. Other than a few costly pitches to Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland, Griffin was able to keep the A’s in the game. He tallied 7 strikeouts, five hits and only one walk. “He kept us in the game and played well enough for us to win. We just didn’t give him enough offense.” said Melvin on Griffin’s performance. “We’ve been talking to him about the home runs and we’ve talked about it quite a bit. We’ll be working on it.”

After starting the game strong with two consecutive strikeouts, Griffin threw a four seam fastball to Ian Kinsler that should have been fielded easily by left-fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Whether credit be due to the sun or the impending wall behind him, Cespedes dropped the ball at the warning track and allowed Kinsler to land safely at second. Adrian Beltre then singled on a sharp line drive to left and Kinsler came in to score to make it a 1-0 lead. Nelson Cruz lead off the top of the second by hitting his 20th homer of the season off of Griffin to increase the lead to 2-0. Griffin leads the majors in surrendered home runs, with 28. After five innings of solid pitching by both pitchers, which saw 9 total strikeouts from both teams, Griffin gave up another deep home run to Mitch Moreland with Chris Gentry on first to bring the tally to 4-0 Texas.

The A’s had a chance to bring themselves back into the game in the bottom of the seventh when Nate Freiman and Chris Young hit back-to-back singles, bringing up Josh Reddick. Holland fooled him with a sinker that had him swinging wildly and quietly and efficiently killed the rally. All-Star closer Joe Nathan came in to relieve Holland in the bottom of the ninth and gave the A’s and their 23,263 fans in attendance a glimmer of hope. After giving up a lead off walk to Josh Donaldson and a hard hit single to Cespedes, Brandon Moss grounded into what should have been a double play, but was able to beat out the throw at first to keep runners at the corners. Alberto Callaspo then grounded into a game ending double play that silenced the crowd and gave the Rangers the series victory two games to one, ending the home-stand on a slightly sour note.

On the A’s offense, Melvin said, “We’re having a tough time putting two games in a row together. We’ve been in a little bit of a rut whether it be our defense, our pitching or offense. We haven’t been timely as that goes. The offense has stood out for quite a while now. We do have the guys with the ability to take care of that and we’re confident we will. We just need to sustain it. Not just one game here and one game there. We just need to get on a roll.”

The A’s hope to start that winning momentum when they head out on a seven game road trip Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The green and gold send Dan Straily (6-5, 4.41 ERA) to the mound against Reds ace Mat Latos (10-3, 3.38 ERA) at 4:10pm PST.