Rangers end seven game losing streak beating the Athletics 5-3 Friday night

a's nunez hr

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Game 160 is in the books for the Oakland Athletics and it will go into the loss column as the Texas Rangers won the game 5-3. After falling behind early in the game, the A’s fought their way back into the contest but could not overcome the Rangers five-run lead.

The end of a dream

The Athletics (74-86) went into the final four-game series in Texas with the goal of catching the Rangers in the standings and finishing the season in a tie for fourth-place in the American League West. The only way that could happen was for the A’s to sweep the series in Arlington. That cannot happen now and the A’s will finish alone in last place in the West.

Perez gets his revenge

The A’s chased Martin Perez from the game last Sunday in Oakland when they scored five runs off him in the bottom of the fifth-inning. Perez went to the showers after 4.2-innings on the mound and was tagged with the loss as the Athletics completed a sweep of the Rangers.

On Friday night, Perez worked 6.0 — innings giving up three runs (all earned) off five hits. He walked two and struck out two A’s. Perez allowed one home run.

Three Texas relief pitchers worked one inning each and allowed no runs and no hits in their time on the mound. The relievers worked the principle of the “Goose Eggs” to perfection. By allowing no runs in their three innings of relief work, they preserved the win for Perez.

Nunez chased Perez from the game

In the top of the seventh inning, Perez walked the leadoff batter Khris Davis. He then gave up a single to Ryon Healy that allowed Davis to move up to second base. That brought rookie Renato Nunez to the plate who took a 1-2 Perez fastball over the wall in right-center field for a three-run home run — the first of his MLB career. Unfortunately for the A’s, that would be the end of their scoring for the night.

Alcantara takes the loss

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Raul Alcantara made another start for Oakland on Friday night. He struggled in his 4.1-innings of work. Alcantara allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits. He walked two, struck out two and allowed one home run. Alcantara (1-2) was tagged with the loss.

The A’s used four relief pitchers. Moll gave up a run while Castro, Casilla and Coulombe were able to post “Goose Eggs”.

Texas was efficient at the plate

a's andrus

The Rangers scored five runs off nine hits while leaving six runners on base. They were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

  • Shin-Soo Choo tied a career high by hitting his 22nd home run of the season with a runner on base raising his RBI total to 78.
  • Elvis Andrus hit his 43rd double of the year.
  • DH Nomar Mazara went 2-for-4 with two RBI and run scored. He raised his RBI total to 99 for 2017.
  • Rookie Willie Calhoun — who was born in Vallejo — went 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI.

A’s with the bats

  • Jed Lowrie broke the all-time Oakland record for doubles in a season when he hit number 48 off Perez Friday night. Jason Giambi was the previous record holder with 47.
  • The A’s scored three runs on seven hits while leaving seven men on base.
  • Oakland went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Up next on Saturday

The A’s will send right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-4, 6.81) to the hill to face the Rangers RHP Andrew Cashner (7-4, 3.42). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

Photos by USA Today Sports Andrew Dieb

Oakland A’s Saturday game wrap: Andrus homers twice, A’s shut out for the second straight day

core

By Morris Phillips

AP photo: Elvis home run balls have left the building, Elvis Andrus (1) of he Texas Rangers get congratulated by teammate Ryan Rua after hitting a two run shot in the sixth inning as Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell waits for the celebration to end

OAKLAND–Elvis Andrus wasn’t in the celebrating mood on Friday night on the occasion of his Rangers wrapping up the AL West title.  While his teammates blazed a path of destruction in the clubhouse—first with ginger ale, then with champagne—Andrus refrained, hoping his restraint would help him recover from a bug that had slowed him in recent days.

He also requested that manager Jeff Bannister pencil him into the lineup on Saturday, while the other Rangers’ regulars stepped back after a night of celebration.

Not bad decisions it turns out.

Andrus homered twice—both off A’s starter Raul Alcantara—and the Rangers kept the foot on the gas, winning 5-0, shutting out the A’s for the second straight day.

So unexpected was his outburst, teammate Adrian Beltre had to remind Andrus to swing for the fences in his final at-bat as well, feeling that there would be no way the light-hitting shortstop would ever again be in the position to hit three homers in a game.

Andrus hit just six home runs coming in, and settled for two more after he flew out to right fielder Danny Valencia in the ninth.  But no mistake, that was plenty to bury the non-swinging A’s, already burdened by their offensive struggles, then lumped with a heaping scoop of Yu Darvish on Saturday.

Darvish showed his playoff readiness by pitching seven innings, allowing two hits while striking out nine, easily the best line the 30-year old has posted since undergoing Tommy John surgery 18 months ago.  Of course, this comes one start after Darvish allowed the A’s seven hits, including two homers in five innings, in Arlington, leaving that day with Oakland leading 7-0.

So does Darvish’s rebound say more about him or more about the A’s?  Any statistician—after draining the nearest, uncorked bottled of wine and banging his head with a mallet a couple of times—would frustratingly conclude a larger sample size is needed.  But the confounding A’s win this contest hands down: after scoring a whopping 65 runs in seven games on the road (6-1), the A’s have scored eight runs in five losses at home.

“We were scoring runs in bunches, we won six out of seven, had a chance to sweep seven in a row,” manager Bob Melvin said.  “We really had a good feeling coming in here, and then haven’t been able to sustain anything since we’ve been home.”

“When we have our days, when we’re clicking, you can’t get any of us out.  So it’s frustrating, but at the same time, it’s also part of the game,” catcher Bruce Maxwell said.

The A’s slump puts them a tense situation for Sunday’s season finale at home.  Losers of their last eight home games (last suffered in May 2001), and now a season-high 25 ½ games out of first place (the most they’ve trailed an AL West race since 1997), this team needs a win in the worst way.

Do the A’s want the spectre of a nine-game losing streak hanging over their heads on Opening Night 2017? From GM Billy Beane all the way down to the team’s groundskeeping crew, the answer is absolutely not.

Jharel Cotton, a rookie albeit an impressive one, will get the start for the A’s on Sunday.  He’ll face wily veteran Colby Lewis, amped up to show Bannister and the Texas brass that he deserves to make post-season starts behind the Rangers’ impressive one-two punch of Cole Hamels and Darvish.  Lewis also will have the team’s regular lineup behind him, minus Andrus, after their well-deserved day of rest.

NOTES: Alcantara enjoyed the lengthiest of his four big league starts on Saturday, finishing six innings, walking one, striking out six while allowing the two home runs to Andrus.  The Dominican pitcher with the eye-popping stint at AAA Nashville this season, remains a candidate for the A’s 2017 rotation along with Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Cotton and others.  Ryon Healy has followed his 10-game hit streak with a 1 for 16 slide, including 0 for 4 on Saturday.  The rookie had eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI during his streak.

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland A’s Sunday Game Wrap:A’s shutout Red Sox 1-0 in walk-off win

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Just when it looked like a no-hitter was going to be pitched against the Oakland Athletics by Eduardo Rodriguez on Sunday, a 19-second video review overturned a call at first that would have been the third out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the bid for a no-hitter was over. Frankly, what happened next was unexpected.

The Red Sox brought in closer Craig Kimbrel to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning of the scoreless game. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a base on balls. With the potential winning run at first, the power-hitting Khris Davis came to the plate and hit a double to left field. Boston left fielder Brock Holt had trouble fielding the ball and Valencia was able to come home for the winning run. Davis was credited with a double and Holt was charged with an error so the run was unearned.

The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 1-0 in the final game of the three-game series. For the A’s, they score one run on just two hits while leaving six men on base. Oakland committed one error. Boston scored no runs off six hits and left nine men on base. The Red Sox committed two errors in the game.

On the Bump

It was a day that was all about pitching. The A’s had given up 27 runs in the first two games versus the Red Sox. Oakland needed a shutdown performance to give them a chance to salvage a win in the final game of the series.

A’s starter Kendall Graveman (10-9, 3.81) gave his team that chance on Sunday. He worked 6.1 scoreless innings for his team. Graveman struck out seven and walked just two. He threw 112 pitches (71 strikes).

A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game that the key to the win was Graveman’s ability to work his way out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning.

For all of his hard efforts, Graveman earns a no decision for the day.

Ryan Dull came on to relieve Graveman in the seventh inning with runners at first and second. Dull closed out the seventh and faced just four batters in the eighth inning to keep the shutout intact.

Closer Ryan Madson was brought in for the top of the ninth inning. He put the side down in order to keep Boston without a run on the board. Madson was the pitcher of record when Valencia scored the winning run so he picks up the win. Madson is now 5-4 on the season.

Graveman, Dull and Madson combined to shutout a very powerful Boston Red Sox team.

For most of the game, it appeared that Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 4.83) would be the story of the contest by pitching a no-hitter. The Red Sox left-hander was in command on the mound right from the beginning of the game. He struck out five and walked just two batters. Rodriguez had three 1-2-3 innings.

Rodriguez was cruising to another three-up, three-down inning when the unthinkable happened. With two out and Marcus Semien at the plate, the A’s shortstop hit a ball right back to the mound at the feet of the pitcher. Rodriguez could not find the ball. When Rodriguez finally found the ball, he fired it to first and Semien was called out. Almost immediately, the A’s were calling for a review and the umpires initiated a review because it was after the seventh inning.

It only took 19-seconds for video control in New York to overturn the call and Semien was called safe. That was all for the no hit bid. Rodriguez got Jake Smolinski to ground out to end the eighth inning.

Rodriguez pitched 8.0-innings giving up no runs on one hit. He struck out five and walked two. He threw 110 pitches (72 strikes). Rodriguez is now 0-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his last five starts.

Craig Kimbrel takes the loss for the Sox. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked one hitter. Kimbrel’s record falls to 2-4 for the year.

In the Batter’s Box

The Khris Davis double was the highlight for the Athletics on Sunday. Davis went 1-for-4 in the game including two strike outs but kept his concentration and aggressiveness when his team needed it the most. For Davis, it was his 20th double of the year and his 85th RBI.

It was Big Papi’s last appearance at the Coliseum on Sunday and things did not go the way he would have liked them go. Ortiz went 0-for-2 on the day with two walks.

Rookie Yoan Moncada went 2-for-4 for his second consecutive multi-hit game.

In the Field

The Red Sox $60-million man – Rookie Yoan Moncada – committed his first big league error on Sunday. In the bottom of the second inning, Moncada attempted to field a ground ball hit to third by Ryon Healy. Moncada did not get in front of the ball and wound up waving at the ball with his glove as it bounced by him into left field. Even top prospects are humbled by the baseball.

Danny Valencia was charged with an error in the fourth inning when his throw to Marcus Semien drew the shortstop off the bag and allowed the runner to be called safe in what should have been a force out. The runner was originally called out and the Red Sox had to challenge the call. It took 1-minute 19-seconds for the original call to be overturned and for the error to be charged to Valencia.

Up Next – Here come the rookies

The A’s will host the LA Angels for a three-game series that will get underway on Monday afternoon at 1:05 PM. That game will feature the debut of RHP Raul Alcantara for the Athletics. Alcantara began the season at Double-A Midland and was then promoted to Triple-A Nashville. Alcantara made eight starts at Nashville and posted a 4-0 record with a 1.18 ERA.

LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 4.66) will start for Oakland on Tuesday night. The Angels have not named a starter.

The Wednesday afternoon game will feature another Major League debut as RHP Jharel Cotton will take the mound for the A’s. Cotton came to the A’s from the Dodgers as a part of the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill trade. Cotton made six starts for the Sounds and recorded a 3-1 record with a 2.82 ERA. One of those wins was a one-hitter that came very close to being a no-hitter. That performance won Cotton the PCL Player of the Week.

Alcantara and Cotton will be the 11th and 12th rookie pitchers to appear for the A’s this season. They will be the 26th and 27th pitchers used by Oakland in 2016.