For much of this season, Mark Canha was a rookie just trying to prove he belonged in the major leagues.
But now, he’s become a driving force behind the A’s offense. Canha’s three-run homer in the fifth inning gave Oakland the lead for good in a 5-3 victory over the Rangers. Danny Valencia followed with a two-run shot off Texas starter Yovani Gallardo (12-10) later in the inning, and that would pave the way to Sean Nolin’s first major-league victory.
[STIGLICH: A's rally not enough, fall in Nolin's debut]
Canha has homered seven times over his past 23 games and has 15 overall on the season. More impressively, his 63 RBI are just five behind Josh Reddick for the team lead. And if anyone tries to tell you they had Canha pegged as the team’s potential RBI leader back in April … well, they’re lying.
His homer came on a curve low in the zone from Gallardo and just cleared the left-field wall. That three-run shot erased a 1-0 Rangers lead. After Josh Reddick singled, Valencia's blast made it 5-1.
Starting pitching report
Making his second start for Oakland, Nolin (1-1) impressed over 5 2/3 innings to find the win column for the first time as a big leaguer. The lefty gave up one run on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. His curveball showed nice bite, and the success with that offspeed pitch seemed to help his fastball, which he threw by hitters at times even when it was clocking in the high 80s. The only damage came off the bat of Mike Napoli, who launched a solo homer in the second that gave Texas a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Manager Bob Melvin continues to throw challenges at Ryan Dull, and the rookie continues to respond. He entered to face the top of Texas’ order with a runner aboard and no outs in the seventh. Dull got Delino DeShields looking, and after walking Shin-Soo Choo, struck out Adrian Beltre. After falling behind 3-0 to Prince Fielder, he battled back and got the Rangers’ cleanup man to chase a slider in the dirt for strike three. Dull added a scoreless eighth and still hasn’t allowed a run over six career outings (8.0 innings).
At the plate
Valencia joins Canha as the other hitter who’s helped carry the A’s offense since the start of August. He has 16 RBI over his last 16 games. Oakland bunched all of its scoring into the top of the fifth, but that would stand on this night.
In the field
Craig Gentry, who entered in the eighth as a pinch hitter, couldn’t haul in Fielder’s catchable drive to the warning track in the ninth. That went for a two-run double to close the A’s lead to 5-3, but Sean Doolittle got Napoli swinging on a high fastball to end it.
30, 487 fans attended this one at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
This three-game series wraps with a 12:05 p.m. game Sunday. Felix Doubront (3-1, 4.22) will match up against Chi-Chi Gonzalez (2-5, 4.25).