Chris Young provided a three-run homer to give the Oakland Athletics a one-run lead halfway through the game, but Tommy Milone and the pitching staff succumbed to a flurry of offense from the Texas Rangers, and the A’s went on to lose Wednesday night by a final score of 9-4 in the third matchup of a four-game series.
Tommy Milone was credited with the loss, giving up six earned runs on eight hits, with one strikeout and one walk in 5.1 innings of work. Texas added three more against the Oakland bullpen, and the A’s hitters were unable to muster up enough offense in the later innings to overcome the deficit.
The Rangers struck first, taking a two-run lead on a Lance Berkman home run in the bottom of the second.
Oakland answered with a two-out rally in the fifth. Josh Reddick reached on a one-out walk, and following a Derek Norris strikeout Sogard did the same, and Chris Young made Grimm pay for the free baserunners when he launched a fastball over the wall in dead center field, giving the A’s a 3-2 lead.
They wouldn’t hold it for long. David Murphy and Leonys Martin hit consecutive singles to lead off the bottom of the frame, and Martin stole second with Ian Kinsler at bat to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Kinsler got under a fastball that was caught by Young in deep right-center for a sacrifice fly that advanced Martin to third, tying the game 3-3.
Milone walked Elvis Andrus in the next at-bat, and got out to ahead 0-2 against Nelson Cruz before working the count full. Cruz then hit a grounder to Josh Donaldson at third, who threw home to try to preserve the tie, but the throw was off target and about a half-second late, and the Rangers took a 4-3 lead. Milone retired Adrian Beltre and Berkman on flyouts to end the threat.
Oakland had another two-out, two-men on opportunity in the sixth, but they couldn’t cash in as Reddick struck out to finish out the inning. The missed opportunity proved to be costly as Texas broke out for four runs on six hits over the next half-inning.
Robinson Chirinos and Murphy hit back-t0-back singles with one out, and that would be it for Milone as Dan Otero came in to try to limit the damage. That wouldn’t be the case, as Martin and Kinsler each tagged Otero for an RBI single. Otero got Andrus to groundout for out number two, but Cruz was able to smoke a grounder past shortstop Jed Lowrie to drive in Martin to make it 7-3.
With Beltre at the plate, Norris took a foul tip off his leg and had to leave the game, and once play resumed Otero got hit up for another run (his second earned run of the game since the first two were charged to Milone) on a double by Beltre. Jesse Chavez came in to finish out the inning, getting Berkman to groundout to first for the final out.
The sixth would prove to be the exclamation point on an offensive exhibition for the Rangers, although they’d add one more run on a wild pitch in the seventh and the A’s would score one more following a double form Yoenis Cespedes and an RBI single by Donaldson in the eighth.
It wasn’t the finest showing for Oakland’s pitchers, but the team will get a chance for a series split when they return to the ballpark for a day game tomorrow. A.J. Griffin will be on the mound against Josh Lindblom, and the first pitch will be thrown shortly after the scheduled start of 11:05 PST.