The Texas Rangers were reeling, and the Oakland A’s were coming off of a monster win. So, it’s a bit surprising that the Rangers came away with three out of four games against the first-place A’s.
Texas won Thursday’s finale 4-3 to take three out of four games from the A’s. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run single off of Sean Doolittle in the seventh inning to plate the tying and the go-ahead run, and Joe Nathan slammed the door in the ninth for his 22nd save of the season. The win went to Tanner Scheppers, while Doolittle was hit with the loss.
With two outs in the ninth inning and Josh Donaldson at first base, Seth Smith singled. Center fielder Craig Gentry misplayed the ball, and it bounced away from him. Gentry recovered and threw the ball in, and Donaldson was racing home when that happened.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski caught the ball, and he applied the tag. The game was over.
Geovany Soto homered for Texas, which is now just a game back of the A’s. Oakland looked like it was headed for another win when it took a 3-2 lead in the seventh, but Doolittle and Ryan Cook struggled. Donaldson’s infield single plated Jed Lowrie and allowed the A’s to hand a lead to their tremendous trio of relievers, but it didn’t go as planned for the Green and Gold.
Jed Lowrie plated a run with a single in the fifth, which gave the A’s a 1-0 lead. Texas countered with a home run by Soto, who only has three long balls on the year. However, the A’s stormed right back to take the lead, as Chris Young walked to plate a run.
The A’s led 2-1 with the bases loaded and no one out, but Adam Rosales struck out, Coco Crisp popped out and John Jaso went down on strikes. The Rangers plated the equalizer in the bottom of the sixth, when Cook threw a wild pitch and Kinsler scored.
Josh Lindblom didn’t give up a run in the first four innings for the Rangers, but he only struck out two and was yanked before he could register an out in the sixth. Luckily for Lindblom, Robbie Ross came up big by retiring three batters with the bases loaded. Ross ended up giving up a run in the seventh, but Texas’ offense bounced back.
A.J. Griffin started for the A’s, and he gave up two runs in 5.1 innings. Griffin struck out five and kept the A’s in the game, but he wasn’t particularly sharp. Neither starter dominated, but both did what they needed to keep their team in the game.
The 43-32 A’s are now just a game ahead of the Rangers in the AL West, and they will need to do well against the third-place Seattle Mariners to hold their lead. The A’s will play a plethora of games against the tough NL Central soon, so they’re going to have to stay sharp for awhile to stay in first.
If they fail to come through in big moments and can’t hold leads, they won’t be able to do that. Today’s game was a perfect example of what not to do.