OAKLAND – A series that began with such promise ended with a whimper for the A’s, who fell 6-2 to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.
The A’s had hopes of rebounding from a deflating road trip and biting into the Rangers’ lead in the American League West. They won Monday’s opener 5-1 but dropped the final two games and now trail Texas by a season-high seven games.
They couldn’t recover from a 6-0 hole Wednesday, and the A’s have now dropped eight of their past 10 games and sit at 20-22 for the season. They get a day off Thursday to take stock of their situation. They aren’t pitching consistently and they didn’t take advantage of their best chance to jump back into the game in the seventh inning Wednesday.
Starting pitching report
Dan Straily needed to make like David Copperfield to escape the trouble he created for himself. He couldn’t … A walk and two hit batsmen in the third inning led to Lance Berkman’s two-run single that gave the Rangers a lead. Another walk in the fifth helped open the gates to a four-run Texas rally, though it was reliever Jesse Chavez who served up Nelson Cruz’s three-run homer.
Straily (1-2) lasted just 4 1/3 innings, walked four and was charged with five runs (four earned). He’s now walked 11 in his last 14 2/3 innings, spread over three starts. That’s not going to cut it for a guy who has displayed dominance at the Triple-A level but can’t get consistent outs in the bigs.
It didn’t take long for Chavez to get on the stat sheet. Cruz bashed his first pitch upon entering for a three-run homer over the wall in left-center. Combine that with Ryan Cook giving up an eighth-inning lead Tuesday and Chris Resop allowing two homers in the same game, and Oakland’s relief corps did not exactly shine over the final two games of this series. However, give Chavez credit for eating up three-plus innings and preserving other arms in the ‘pen with the A’s trailing big.
At the plate
Optimism abounded for the A’s on Wednesday morning with Coco Crisp’s name in the A’s leadoff spot. The speedy switch hitter was reinstated from the disabled list but couldn’t prevent his team from being muzzled by three Texas pitchers. Starter Alexi Ogando (4-2) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, retiring 15 of his first 17 hitters.
Crisp drove in the A’s second run in the seventh inning, but the A’s had the bases loaded with one out and couldn’t capitalize on their best chance to jump back into the game. Derek Norris drove in Oakland’s first run with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
In the field
Jed Lowrie committed an error for the second straight day. On the bright side, third baseman Josh Donaldson turned in a gem of a play, making a diving backhanded stop and throwing from his knees across the diamond to nail the speedy Elvis Andrus. Donaldson is impressing on a daily basis these days.
A crowd of 20,414 showed up for Wednesday’s matinee, but there was little to cheer for by the time the A’s bats warmed up.
With Brett Anderson not available, Jarrod Parker starts Friday’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals. The right-hander picked up his second win of the season Saturday against Seattle, but he has yet to string two strong outings together this season. He’ll be opposed by James Shields. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.