On the rare night that their starting pitching didn’t come through, the A’s found a different route to victory.
They answered a four-run rally from the Texas Rangers with a go-ahead four-run rally of their own and notched an 8-6 victory to open a three-game series at Globe Life Park. It was the A’s third win in a row, and they’ve now taken seven of their past nine.
The rotation has been a driving force behind the A’s 12-8 June record to this point. But on Tuesday it was the offense that carried the day.
Texas took a 5-2 lead in the fifth against Jesse Chavez, only to see the A’s bounce right back with four runs in the top of the sixth that put them ahead for good.
From there the bullpen played a key role, and did so without closer Tyler Clippard available. Oakland’s relievers handled the final four innings and nailed down the victory.
The A’s got a big night from the bottom of the order, with Nos. 8-9 hitters Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien combining to go 5-for-8 with four RBI and three runs.
Oakland has scored 62 runs over the last nine games, an average of 6.89 per contest.
Starting pitching report
After the A’s took a 2-1 lead on Josh Phegley’s homer in the top of the fifth, Chavez couldn’t get the shutdown inning he wanted. The Rangers struck for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to jump back up 5-2. For as dialed in as Chavez had been lately, he lost his location in the fifth. After Robinson Chirinos singled, Rougned Odor pounded a two-run homer to put Texas ahead on an off-speed pitch that Chavez hung in his wheelhouse. It was just the fifth homer allowed by the right-hander all season.
But Chavez (4-6), who’s taken his share of hard-luck defeats this season due to lack of support, actually got rewarded on an off-night. He gave up five runs over five innings but got rewarded with the victory when Oakland broke out for a four-run rally of its own in the sixth.
Pomeranz, who began the season in the rotation before going on the DL with a shoulder injury, has emerged as an important late-inning relief man. On Tuesday, he polished off the final 1 2/3 innings and registered the first save of his career.
After Tyler Clippard had recorded four-out and five-out saves Saturday and Sunday, manager Bob Melvin stayed away from him in this one. Evan Scribner, Eric O’Flaherty, Fernando Rodriguez and Pomeranz combined for four innings of one-run ball.
At the plate
The A’s 11-hit attack featured big hits from all over the lineup. Phegley, starting against a righty with Stephen Vogt sitting because of an elbow injury, drilled a solo homer in the fifth and a game-tying two-run double in the sixth. Marcus Semien drove in Phegley with a run-scoring go-ahead single to cap the A’s four-run rally that chased Rangers starter Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-2).
Ben Zobrist added to the A’s lead with a two-run homer in the seventh that opened up an 8-5 lead. He has three homers and 10 RBI over his past nine games.
Eric Sogard’s two-out bloop single in the third scored Marcus Semien to get the A’s on the board in the third and tie the game 1-1. Billy Burns got caught up in a rundown between second and third on the play to end the rally.
In the field
Brett Lawrie’s throwing error led to a Texas run in the seventh, but it was not a factor in the outcome.
Kendall Graveman (3-4, 4.02) has gone at least seven innings and given up two runs or fewer in each of his past three starts but hasn’t gotten a win in any of them. He’s just the second A’s pitcher since at least 1914 to do that. He’ll oppose Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.20) in Wednesday’s 5:05 p.m. game.