OAKLAND -- Doing away with the late-game drama of the previous two nights, the A’s simply went down quietly Wednesday in a 3-0 loss to the Texas Rangers.
They scraped together just three hits against Rangers lefty Martin Perez as Texas capped off a three-game sweep at the Coliseum and knocked the A’s out of first place in the American League West for the first time since April 11.
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It marked the first time Oakland has been swept in a home series since Sept. 3-5, 2012, when the Los Angeles Angels took three.
The A’s had their momentum stopped cold after winning five consecutive series leading into this one. They’ll try to get back on track as they head on the road for a 10-game road trip that begins Thursday in Houston.
In a duel of two of the AL’s top young starters, Perez (4-0) outdueled Sonny Gray, holding Oakland hitters to little in the way of hard contact. The A’s didn’t advance a runner past first base against Perez until Josh Donaldson doubled with one out in the seventh. The A’s streak of 32 consecutive home series without being swept was their longest since a 48-series streak that ran from May 10, 2002 to April 11, 2004.
Starting pitching report
Gray (3-1) gave up three runs over seven innings, an outing that looked decent in the box score. But he walked four and struggled with command all afternoon, turning in his shakiest start so far this year. He walked Michael Choice to lead off the game and then left a pitch high and in to Alex Rios, who drilled an RBI triple to left-center. The Rangers made it 2-0 in the fifth when Leonys Martin beat out an infield single and came around to score on Choice’s single.Donnie Murphy homered to right on a 3-1 pitch in the sixth, the first long ball that Gray has surrendered in five starts.
Choice and Murphy, both former Athletics, hurt their former club all series. Choice, a 2010 first-round pick of Oakland’s who was traded to the Rangers in the offseason, reached base in six of nine plate appearances from the leadoff spot over the final two games of the series.
Drew Pomeranz, getting his first work in awhile, looked sharp with two strikeouts in an inning of work. That was the extent of the A’s highlights in this one.
At the plate
Perez went the distance, striking out three and walking two. The A’s had no answer for the lefty all day, as he lowered his ERA to 1.42.
In the field
Second baseman Nick Punto misplayed a routine grounder for a meaningless error in the third. It gave Oakland 21 errors through 21 games.
A crowd of 18,340 showed up on a gorgeous day for baseball.
The A’s begin a 10-game road trip with a four-game series at Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros. Thursday’s 5:10 p.m. opener pits Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.65) against lefty Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.04). The rest of the pitching matchups: Friday -- Jesse Chavez (1-0, 1.38) vs. Brad Peacock (0-2, 6.14), 5:10 p.m.; Saturday -- Dan Straily (1-1, 5.40) vs. Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 3.38), 4:10 p.m.; Sunday -- Tommy Milone (0-1, 4.24) vs. TBA, 11:10 a.m.