OAKLAND – Colby Lewis took the mound Tuesday and the A’s bats went silent, and you’re forgiven if you didn’t see that one coming.
The veteran right-hander, who’s battled back from major surgeries on his elbow and hip over his career, posted a 5.18 ERA last season and he was far from unhittable this spring for Texas. But after the A’s broke out for eight runs in Monday’s opener, they scratched out just three hits over six innings off Lewis and fell 3-1 to even this four-game series against the Rangers at one game apiece.
The A’s advanced just four runners as far as second base the entire night, making it a relatively quiet night at the Coliseum on the heels of Monday’s sellout.
Right-hander Jesse Hahn took the loss in his first start for the A’s after coming over in an offseason trade from San Diego. But it was the offense that short-circuited in this one. A golden opportunity presented itself in the seventh when the A’s loaded the bases with one out. But Marcus Semien grounded into an inning-ending double play and the A’s didn’t threaten again.
As for Lewis, it should be noted that he entered with an 8-4 lifetime mark and 3.23 ERA against the A’s, and those eight wins were his most against any opponent. Still, one would have thought the home team would be able to muster a bit more with the bat.
Starting pitching report
On some nights, Hahn’s effort would be good enough to win. He gave up three runs over six innings and didn’t issue a walk. But with minimal run support, the margin for error was slim for the right-hander in his A’s debut. He put the leadoff runner in each of the first three innings, but the Rangers produced just one run out of it on Prince Fielder’s two-out blooper that fell for a run-scoring single. Fielder did more damage in the fifth when he lined an RBI single to right. Craig Gentry let it get by him, and a second run came home to give Texas a 3-0 lead.
Not a bad overall effort from Hahn, though he did hit two batters.
Eric O’Flaherty entered in the seventh and notched two strikeouts in a scoreless inning. Keep tabs on how he performs early on, as the lefty takes on a bigger role this season than in 2014.
Jesse Chavez delivered a 1-2-3 eighth, and Fernando Abad made quick work of Texas in the ninth.
At the plate
Brett Lawrie’s four-strikeout night stood out in this one, but the A’s struggled as a group in this one. Manager Bob Melvin moved Eric Sogard up to the second spot and dropped Craig Gentry to ninth, but the A’s couldn’t much going regardless.
In the field
Gentry’s error was a costly one. Other than that, the A’s played a clean game defensively.
After an Opening Night sellout, Tuesday’s announced turnout was 15,025. Perhaps a lot of fans called an audible and went next door to see Fleetwood Mac instead.
After holding opponents to a .161 batting average in spring training, Scott Kazmir (15-9, 3.55 last year) makes his first start of the season with lefty Ross Detwiler (2-3, 4.00) going for the Rangers in Wednesday’s 7:05 p.m. game. It will mark the A’s first chance to showcase the right-handed version of their batting order, which should feature Josh Phegley behind the plate and Mark Canha at first base.