ARLINGTON, Texas – It all looked vaguely familiar, didn’t it?
The scoring rallies, the RBI hits, the crisp overall play …
The A’s that you knew and loved for much of 2014 re-surfaced Friday night in a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, which moved Oakland to the brink of a third consecutive trip to the postseason.
The A’s walked off the field needing just one loss from the Seattle Mariners to sew up one of two American League wild card spots. The Mariners were in progress against the Los Angeles Angels, and the tentative plan was for the A’s to stick around the clubhouse at Globe Life Park to see if they had reason to celebrate Friday night.
Their own performance was enough for them to feel good about.
Struggling so badly to generate offense for the past month, the A’s got three RBI from Josh Reddick and a two-run double from Adam Dunn to highlight their attack.
And speaking of turning back the clock, starting pitcher Scott Kazmir resembled his All-Star form for one of the few times in the second half. The lefty held the Rangers to just four hits over seven innings and broke a string of six starts without a victory.
There was a degree of concern attached to this victory however. Third baseman Josh Donaldson went down with an apparent left knee injury on a diving attempt at a foul grounder down the line in the third. He was in obvious pain on the ground and was attended to by trainers for several minutes but remained in the game, limping badly on the base paths.
Donaldson has been playing with assorted aches and pains for a while, and a sore left knee kept him out of the lineup in a late-August game.
Oakland’s magic number for a playoff spot was shaved to one with the win. A victory Saturday or Sunday would do it if the Mariners decide not to cooperate.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir (15-9) struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. He retired 12 of 13 from the first to the fifth, and in general, showed the sharpness and command that has eluded him most of the time since the All-Star break.
He came in with a 5.30 ERA over his past 16 starts.
Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle closed out the victory,just the A’s fourth in their past 11 games.
At the plate
Dunn, making his first start as the No. 2 hitter since 2008, drilled a double to the right field corner in the third that scored Coco Crisp and Eric Sogard to erase a 1-0 deficit for Oakland.
Reddick followed with a solo homer to lead off the fourth against Nick Tepesch (5-11). Then the A’s gave Kazmir breathing room with a three-run fifth. Jed Lowrie scored a hobbling Donaldson with a double to right field, and Reddick greeted reliever Robbie Ross with a two-run single that made it 6-1.
In the field
Brandon Moss committed a throwing error on a play where Kazmir was covering first. Otherwise, it was a smooth night in the field.
A crowd of 31,586 was on hand at Globe Life Park.
How good has Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 2.92) been over his last six starts? He’s struck out 47 and walked just three over that span. He’s set to take the ball Saturday night against Texas lefty Derek Holland (2-0, 1.31). First pitch is 5:05 p.m.