Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, right, is congratulated by Andy Ibanez, left Gallo hit a two run homer in the top of the fifth inning against the Oakland A’s on Thu Jul 1, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)
Texas 8 – 15 – 1
Oakland 3 – 5. – 0
By Lewis Rubman
Thursday, July 1, 2021
OAKLAND–It’s not a June swoon, but the A’s went into the month leading the AL West by a half a game at 31-25 and left it a half a game behind Houston at 48-34. There were plenty of bright spots.
The two Matts found their hitting stride; Elvis Andrus began to look like the Andrus who had played for Texas; Tony Kemp showed what a versatile professional could do. There were some outstanding pitching performances, especially from the starters, and the team ERA dropped from 4.24 after 51 games to its present 3.25. The bull pen, however, is unreliable, and the weakness there isn’t readily evident in stats like the individual relievers’ ERA.
During the season’s first 71 games, the pen lost four games. In the last 11 contests alone, it lost three. In its last 10 games, the pen suffered four blown saves and posted a collective ERA of 22.214.171.124% of inherited runners crossed the plate.
Today’s southpaw starter, Sean Manaea, is, on the whole, one of the bright spots. His won-lost record for last month was a not particularly impressive 3-2, but his ERA was 1.13, and opposing left handed batters manged a meager .181 BA against him, although righties swatted him for a healthy .277 average and lefties did some serious damage to him this afternoon. He went to the mound with a 6-4, 2.91 record. His mound rival for Texas was righty Dane Dunning (3-6, 4.63).
It was not a pretty match up for fans of the green and gold. The home team took an 8 -3 drubbing to start the new month off on the wrong foot. The game wasn’t as close as the final score might have indicated. Oakland was outhit, 15-5.
Manaea got into trouble early. After retiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa on ground outs to Chapman at third, he surrendered a double Adolis García bounced off the 7 Up advertisement in left center field. García stole third while Joey Gallo was at bat, but that was redundant, because it was Joey Gallo at bat. He laced a solid single to right that brought in the game’s first run. A fine running catch by Ramón Laureano of Andy Ibáñez’s fly to medium deep center ended the episode.
For a moment it looked like Oakland had tied the score in the bottom of the second. Laureano opened the frame with a solid single to left. Moreland followed that by dropping a Texas league single to center. Each advanced a base on Andrus’s nubber in front of the plate.
With Seth Brown at bat, they each moved up another base on what home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs (a vacation replacement) called a ball that escaped catcher John Hicks’ grasp. The more veteran umps disagreed with call, and Riggs changed it to a hit batter. That loaded the bases, but Aramis García went down swinging, and Kemp grounded out, short to third, to quell the uprising.
Nat Lowe doubled the Rangers’ lead by blasting Manaea’s first pitch in the top of the fourth, an 80 mph hanging curve that landed in the front rows of the right field seats. That was the only inning Acevedo pitched. He got out of it after gibing up a single to Culberson, who was forced out at second by Kiner-Falfa, who got picked off first by Acevedo, who then struck out White. Deolis Guerra took his seat on the pitching merry go round for the seventh frame.
The curse of the lead off double struck in the home half of that inning. Moreland hit the two bagger and was still on second after Andrus flew out to right center, Brown whiffed, and García flew out to right.
Joey Gallo did his thing in the fifth. He teed off on the 91 mph sinker that Manaea threw as a first pitch with White on first and one down. When the ball landed in the right center field seats, Gallo had 20 home runs and 45 RBI. The Rangers had a 4-0 lead. All of their runs had been driven in by left handed hitters off the left handed Manaea, three by Gallo and one by Lowe.
It was Dunning who was removed from the mound first. After shutting Oakland out for four innings on three hits, two walks, and two hit batters, he was replaced by John King to start the bottom of the fifth. Dunning had thrown 68 pitches, 43 of which were strikes. He left without having lasted long enough to get the win. That went to John King, who now is 6-5 (as is Manaea), 2.86.
Manaea didn’t come out to pitch the sixth. He had hurled 94 pitches, 65 of them strikes, and yielded four runs on nine hits, including two for the distance. He walked one Ranger and unleashed a wild pitch. He was charged with the loss. His ERA ballooned to 3.13.
John Hicks, in his first big league game of the season, began it with a bang by taking Manaea’s replacement, Domingo Acevedo, deep to lead off the sixth. It left the park over the 367 foot sign in left field. This time, it was a case of a righty scoring against a righty.
That pattern was broken in the seventh when left handed Nate Lowe homered to right with Gallo on base to up the Ranger’s lead to half a dozen runs. The shot, his 11th home run of the year came on an 81 mph change up. This was the second multi homer game for the Rangers’s first baseman. It also was the end of the day for Guerra, who took over for Acevedo to start the seventh and would give way to Burch Smith in the eighth. None ofl the A’s pitchers escaped without being scored on.
Singles by Hicks, Kiner-Falefa, and White did the trick in getting to Smith. Texas skipper Cliff Woodward showed some mercy by sending in David Dahl to pinch hit for Gallo. He ended the inning with a foul pop fly to Chapman. Smith stayed in through the top of the ninth, the only frame in which an Oakland reliever managed to blank the Metroplex Maulers
Oakland finally scored in the home eighth. Kemp led off by getting hit by a pitch. Chapman walked. Matt Schwindel pinch hit for Olson and launched a loud foul a few feet to the left of where his debut home run had landed last night.
Then he hit a bounder back to King, who threw the ball into center field, allowing Kemp to score and Chapman to reach third. At this point Woodward yanked King, who hadn’t given up a hit in his three inning stint on the mound but would be charged with three runs, two of them earned. Brett Martin replaced him and, after yielding a down the line double to left by Chad Pender, who had replaced Lowrie at second, retired the next three A’s he faced.
Spencer Patton closed the game for Texas. He allowed a two out double to Kemp, but that was all.
The Red Sox come to town tomorrow for a three day holiday week endseries. Frankie Montás (7-7, 4.72) will face Eduardo Rodríguez (6-4, 5.83) in the opener, scheduled to start at 6:40).