The Oakland Athletics’ offense returned to its early season form Monday night, accumulating 15 hits and roughing up whichever pitcher was put in front of them in a 9-2 rout of the Texas Rangers.
Bartolo Colon earned the win for the A’s, while Josh Lindblom took his first loss as a starter as Oakland touched him up for four earned runs on six hits over 4.2 innings.
The A’s jumped on Lindblom early as Coco Crisp led the game off with a single and Yoenis Cespedes drew a walk in a first inning rally that fizzled out. However, Seth Smith put the A’s on the board with a solo shot to left field in the second, giving the Oakland an early 1-0 lead.
The Rangers tied the game with a run of their own in the third. Colon gave up a rare lead off walk to Geovany Soto, and Leonys Martin hit a double to move Soto to third, allowing him to score on a groundout by Jurickson Profar in the next at-bat.
After an uneventful fourth inning, the A’s broke out for four runs in the fifth. The A’s hit three doubles, starting with a lead off line drive to left by Crisp. Jed Lowrie then popped out to center field to advance Crisp to third, and Cespedes brought him home on a line drive over the head of Adrian Beltre at third.
Southpaw Brandon Moss then roped a changeup to the wall in right field to score Cespedes, and after striking out Josh Donaldson, Lindblom’s day would be over as Joseph Ortiz came in out of the bullpen to finish out the inning.
But Ortiz couldn’t get the final out against Smith, and the designated hitter got his second hit of the day on a blooper to shallow left field that was mishandled by Daniel Murphy, allowing Moss to score easily and Smith to reach second.
Chris Young finished things off with an RBI single to left, and the A’s had a 5-1 lead.
Colon then got into a tight spot after giving up a double to Mitch Moreland to start off the bottom of the fifth and walking Soto in four pitches in the next at-bat. Brandon Moss then fielded a grounder and threw to second to make it one out with runners on the corners. Profar was able to score Moreland from third on a sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-2, but Elvis Andrus lined out to left to end the inning, and that would be the closest the Rangers would get for the rest of the game.
Oakland loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs, but they couldn’t get anyone across the plate as Donaldson lined out to end the inning. They’d score three in the seventh, though, with Smith drawing a lead off walk and Young hitting a single to put two men on with no outs. Eric Sogard got an RBI with a base hit up the middle in the next at-bat, and he’d advance to second on Martin’s throw to third. Young would come home on a groundout to third by Crisp, and Sogard scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.
Colon finished his day with a three-up, three-down seventh inning, and although it wasn’t his best performance, he got through some rough patches and ended up with two earned runs on six hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.
Jerry Blevins came in to work through the order in the bottom of the eighth after the A’s loaded the bases again in the top half of the inning with no results. They’d do it again in the next inning though, and Donaldson brought home the final run on a single to right field. Pat Neshek closed out the game with 13 pitches in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory for Oakland.
The A’s finished with eight RBI’s and eight walks, and they still left 15 men on base. Today’s win was crucial as they’ll have a tall task taking on Yu Darvish tomorrow, who has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season with a 7-1 record. Dan Straily will be on the mound for Oakland.