ARLINGTON, Texas — Few hitters can break the A’s hearts quite like Adrian Beltre.
The Rangers star third baseman connected for a two-run walk-off homer against Ryan Madson in the bottom of the ninth Monday to beat Oakland 7-6, robbing the A’s of their fourth consecutive win.
It was shaping up as an impressive night for the A’s bullpen, aside from two swings of Beltre’s bat. He homered off John Axford in the seventh to pull Texas within 6-5. Then he jumped on the first pitch from Madson with two outs in the ninth and sent the game-winner rocketing over the wall in left-center.
Beltre now has 35 career home runs against the A’s, his second most against any opponent. This marked his first walk-off homer since Sept. 25, 2014 -- which happened to come against then-A’s reliever Luke Gregerson.
That home run spoiled a night in which the A’s offense did plenty to carry the team into the win column. Oakland led 5-1 at one point, but the first-place Rangers never stopped swinging the bats and chipped away.
Starting pitching report
After a fast start out of the gate in his big league career, Daniel Mengden has found the going much rougher of late. Handed a 5-1 lead by the third inning Monday night, the rookie couldn’t make it through five innings. Manager Bob Melvin called to the bullpen with two outs in the fifth and the A’s clinging to a 5-4 lead. Mengden gave up four runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. After posting a 2.81 ERA over his first four starts, Mengden is carrying a 9.00 ERA over his last five outings. He’s also issued 17 walks in 23 innings over those five starts.
It was all hands on deck as the A's tried to close out this one. Marc Rzepczynski, Liam Hendriks, John Axford and Ryan Dull combined to allow just one run over 3 1/3 innings to get the ball to Madson.
At the plate
The A’s jumped on Martin Perez early, and they capitalized on a Texas mistake to do it. Josh Reddick reached on Elvis Andrus’ two-out throwing error, and Danny Valencia followed with a two-run homer to straightaway center, just his second homer in his past 21 games. Leading 2-1 in the third, the A’s added three more on consecutive run-scoring doubles from Valencia, Khris Davis and Billy Butler for a 5-1 cushion.
That early-game outburst was welcome for the A’s, who had scored just 11 runs in their previous five games. They’d also plated runs in just six of 49 innings over that span. They tacked on a run in the seventh when Reddick’s two-out single to right off Matt Bush scored Matt McBride, who had singled and hustled to second when left fielder Delino DeShields mishandled the ball. That run made it 6-4.
In the field
The A’s didn’t commit an error. Texas had two.
The announced turnout was 27,292.
If there’s a ballpark that can get Sonny Gray (4-9, 5.49) back on track, Globe Life Park would be it. The right-hander has won all five of his career starts in the Rangers’ home yard, with a 0.96 ERA. Texas has yet to announce a starter for Tuesday’s 5:05 p.m. game.