A’s outlast the Rangers 8-6 in a slugfest on Saturday at the Coliseum

 

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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

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  • 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

A’s

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  • 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.

Rangers

  • 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.

Up next

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).

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

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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

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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

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.