The A’s high-scoring ways in the late innings weren’t any match Saturday for their faulty bullpen.
Oakland watched a four-run lead evaporate in the seventh inning and lost 8-7 when Texas’ Rougned Odor singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.
After posting an uplifting comeback victory Friday night, the A’s (10-15) once again failed to build on a spark of momentum. They’ve won back-to-back games just once this season and fell 7 ½ games behind first-place Houston in the American League West.
The A’s scored six runs to take a 7-3 lead in the seventh, only to let the Rangers answer back with four runs in the bottom half to tie it. Fernando Abad served up a three-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo to cap Texas’ rally.
With the game still knotted in the bottom of the 10th, Ryan Cook lost command of the strike zone, giving up Choo’s double and then walking Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Peguero to load the bases. Both batters were squared around to bunt, but never had to lay one down as Cook issued them free passes. R.J. Alvarez, recalled from the minors earlier in the day, gave up Odor’s single up the middle for the game-winner.
Starting pitching report:
It wasn’t a great outing, it wasn’t a terrible outing. … Tough to place Drew Pomeranz’s 5 1/3 innings in any true category. He gave up three runs on eight hits, and his night would have been easier had he been able to close out innings after getting two outs. After retiring his first two batters in the first, the lefty gave up back-to-back singles and then Kyle Blanks’ RBI double. In the third, Adrian Beltre hit a two-out RBI single to score Elvis Andrus to give Texas a 2-1 lead.
Then in the sixth, Pomeranz gave up a solo homer to Blanks, the second homer in as many nights for the former Athletic. He had three RBI on Saturday night.
Abad posted a 1.57 ERA last season, but the lefty specialist has not gotten the job done on the road this season. He got knocked around for the second consecutive game in Arlington. On Friday, he gave up a triple to Rougned Odor and a double to Prince Fielder – both left-handed hitters. With a run in and two on Saturday in the seventh, Abad threw a 2-1 pitch in Choo’s wheelhouse and the left-handed hitting Choo drove it out to right field for a three-run, game-tying homer.
With Cook’s inability get the ball even near the strike zone in the 10th, his return from the minors hasn’t been a tonic for Oakland’s struggling relief corps.
At the plate:
Keeping with the recent theme, the A’s came through with another huge inning, putting up six runs in the top of the seventh to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 7-3 lead. They did it on the strength of just three hits, as the Rangers chipped in with two errors and a hit batsman that brought a run home with the bases loaded. And for the second time in an A’s game this season, the second base umpire got nailed with a batted ball. Canha’s liner struck Jerry Meals to load the bases with no outs.
Down 3-1, the A’s got one run when Josh Phegley got hit with an 0-2 pitch. Pinch hitter Craig Gentry delivered a sacrifice fly. Then Billy Burns laid down a bunt, and the A’s caught a break when Canha got caught in a rundown between third and home, and scored when Robinson Chirinos threw the ball into left field. Then Josh Reddick, continued his torrid streak of late, mashed a pitch from Anthony Bass over the right field wall for a three-run homer and 7-3 A’s lead. Reddick has 15 RBI over his past 13 games.
In the field:
The A’s got some help from Texas’ shaky defense in the seventh but ultimately couldn’t make the Rangers pay for it.
Sonny Gray threw a shutout in his last start at Globe Life Park, a playoff-clinching win in Game 162 last season. It was a continuation of his career-long dominance against Texas. Gray (3-0, 1.98) is 5-2 with a 1.74 ERA against the Rangers entering Sunday’s 12:05 p.m. series finale. Yovani Gallardo (2-3, 4.05) takes the ball for Texas.