OAKLAND –- The A’s threw a welcome party Wednesday night, and the newcomers to their lineup made themselves right at home.
Four players in the lineup were playing their first games in an A’s uniform, and all contributed to the fun in a 10-0 throttling of the Texas Rangers at the Coliseum.
First baseman Mark Canha, making his major league debut, went 3-for-5 with four RBI, and he came within inches of a grand slam in the third inning when his three-run double hit off the top of the wall in right-center. Playing to his right was second baseman Tyler Ladendorf, who marked his big league debut with an RBI triple in his very first at-bat.
It was good times all around as the A’s moved to 2-1 during this season-opening four-game series. Cody Ross, a free agent signed earlier in the day, singled home a run in his second at-bat. Catcher Josh Phegley, acquired over the winter from the White Sox, singled and guided left-hander Scott Kazmir through a marvelous night on the mound.
Canha became just the second Athletic since 1914 to drive in at least four runs in his big league debut. Ben Grieve enjoyed a five-RBI game on Sept. 3, 1997 against the Giants. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the A’s became the first team since 1920 to have two players (Canha and Ladendorf) have at least two RBI while making their major league debut in the same game.
The A’s have outscored the Rangers 19-3 so far in the series.
Starting pitching report
Kazmir’s effort would have been headline stuff on most nights. He was superb over seven innings, holding the Rangers to one hit and striking out 10 with two walks. It was the lefty’s 23rd career 10-strikeout game.
His night did come with a scare, however. He was visited by manager Bob Melvin and head trainer Nick Paparesta in the fourth, when it appeared he was trying to stretch out his side. He threw a couple of warm-up pitches and stayed in. Kazmir retreated to the clubhouse for a spell in the bottom of the fourth, but the A’s bullpen never stirred. He took the mound for the fifth and continued his excellent form.
Dan Otero handled a scoreless eighth and R.J. Alvarez (another guy making his A’s debut) nailed down the shutout in the ninth.
At the plate
After popping up in his first at-bat, Canha authored a big moment with his three-run double, but it almost became even bigger. He drove a pitch from lefty Ross Detwiler to the opposite field that hit off the top of the wall in right center and bounced back into play. The umpires reviewed the play, and Canha gave the homer signal while standing on the second base bag, but the play was upheld.
Though he wasn’t one of the stars of the game, A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie went 3-for-4 and rebounded nicely from his four-strikeout game the night before. Marcus Semien was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
The A’s snapped a scoreless tie with their five-run third. Semien singled and scored when Ladendorf drilled a gapper to left-center and legged out a triple. Ross delivered a run-scoring single to left, and three batters later Canha delivered his three-run double.
In the field
The Rangers played defense like the last-place team some believe they will be, as they committed four errors (though one was a tough scoring decision). Among the lowlights: first baseman Prince Fielder getting twisted around and falling to the ground as Phegley’s foul pop-up fell next to him. Two more errors and a passed ball led to an A’s run in the fourth that made it 6-0.
A crowd of 19,479 was on hand.
In the A’s first matinee of the season, Kendall Graveman (0-0, 3.86 last year) makes his first major league start. The Rangers will counter with Nick Martinez (5-12, 4.55) in the 12:35 p.m. series finale.