This isn’t the recommended road map to victory, but it sure is entertaining to watch.
The A’s, down five runs after seven innings, struck for a seven-run eighth that paved the way to a 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. It was the most improbable of ways to begin this 10-game road trip, and it was much needed for a team that took the field having lost six of their previous seven.
Oakland mustered just two hits over the first seven innings before batting around against the Rangers bullpen in a go-ahead rally in the eighth that featured seven hits. Mark Canha batted twice in the inning, starting the rally with a homer and capping it with an RBI single.
It was the second game in a row that the A’s rallied late with the bats, but unlike Thursday, they completed the job and nailed down the victory.
The A’s didn’t have an answer against Texas starter Colby Lewis, who held them to two hits over six innings and seemed to have a sure victory in his back pocket when he left the game. That didn’t come to fruition, and the A’s can only hope their comeback victory is a momentum-changer after their 9-14 record in April.
Starting pitching report
A’s starter Scott Kazmir came in having allowed just one homer in 27 1/3 innings this season. He gave up two against Texas. Kyle Blanks, who was acquired by Oakland last May but was sidetracked by injuries and wasn’t offered arbitration over the winter, hit a low changeup from Kazmir over the wall in left in the second. In the fourth, Prince Fielder hit a belt-high fastball for a monster homer to center as part of a two-run rally that put the Rangers ahead 3-0. Kazmir went six innings and surrendered three runs on six hits, striking out six and walking one.
The Rangers built on their 3-0 lead in the seventh, striking for two runs off Fernando Abad and Dan Otero after Kazmir exited the game. Rougned Odor hit a leadoff triple and scored on Leonys Martin’s sacrifice fly. Then Prince Fielder doubled with two outs and scored on Adrian Beltre’s single off Otero.
Evan Scribner, who couldn’t have anticipated he’d be pitching the eighth with a lead, pitched a scoreless inning and handed things over to Tyler Clippard, who posted his second save.
At the plate
Following the same formula as Thursday, the A’s went silent offensively for most of the night before rallying late. This time they climbed all the way back after beginning the top of the eighth down 5-0.
They sent 10 men to the plate in their six-run go-ahead rally off Texas relievers Shawn Tolleson, Roman Mendez and Neftali Feliz. Just a day earlier, they scored three runs in the ninth but came up short, 6-5, against the Angels.
Canha got things started with a homer to right-center. Stephen Vogt had a run-scoring single, Josh Reddick knocked in two with a single up the middle. Then Brett Lawrie, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts up to that point, capped a terrific at-bat by lining a two-run, go-ahead double to the right field corner to put Oakland up 6-5. Before all was said and done, Canha came up for the second time in the inning and drove in another run with a single.
In the field
For all the action in this game, neither team made an error.
The Rangers’ Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.35) has been one of the American League’s best starting pitchers so far. The A’s take a crack at him Saturday night in a 5:05 p.m. game. Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 4.50) goes for Oakland.