Entering today, Dan Straily was the owner of an inflated 7.27 ERA.
Now, thanks to a great performance, his ERA is 5.73, and the A’s have won five games in a row.
Straily pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Yoenis Cespedes hit a crucial home run and the A’s ground out a key 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers. Oakland is now 25-22 after beating the Rangers for the second straight night, as the A’s swept the Royals before this road series. This is Oakland’s fourth one-run win during the five-game streak, meaning the team has been able to rekindle some of its 2012 magic.
With no score in the third, Cespedes took a knee-high pitch from Yu Darvish, who twirled six solid innings, and lifted it deep into center field. The ball made it over the wall for a game-changing home run. Darvish is 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA, but he got the short end of the stick tonight. And it was all because of this hit:
Straily only threw 88 pitches in his seven innings, but the bullpen made sure Bob Melvin’s decision to yank Straily was justified. Sean Doolittle gave up one hit and no runs in the eighth, and Grant Balfour carved up Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus and David Murphy for his ninth save. Balfour’s ERA is 1.47, meaning he has been able to rekindle his 2012 magic as well.
The A’s are now 4.5 games behind the Rangers, which is definitely manageable for a team that handled a 13-game deficit with three months to go in 2012. The A’s fell behind in the standings with a bad start to May and a bad end to April, but they are now back on track. If Straily can keep it up, Oakland’s pitchers will be just fine. The A’s showed what they could do, and while they didn’t need a comeback to win, they brought back memories from the second half of the 2012 season with a tight one-run win.
Now, the A’s have a chance to sweep the Rangers with a win tomorrow. If Jarrod Parker can keep Oakland’s rotation going strong, the A’s will be able to finish off the series with a huge win. The A’s are on the right track, and it’s because of a huge win tonight.