Brett Lawrie didn’t waste time when he stepped to the plate in the first inning Wednesday.
The same could be said for his team, as the A’s jumped on the Texas Rangers early and rode that to an 8-2 victory at Globe Life Park.
Lawrie came to bat in the first with the bases loaded and two outs. The first pitch was a hanging curve from Wandy Rodriguez, and Lawrie drilled it for a grand slam to left-center that highlighted a five-run first.
The A’s added three more in the second to make it 8-0, with Josh Phegley providing a two-run homer, and the rest of the game played out like garbage time. It continued the run of good times for Oakland, which has won four in a row and eight of the past 10. Looking at the bigger picture, the A’s have assured their sixth series victory in their past nine, including two in a row over teams they’re chasing in the American League West. They took two of three from the Angels before heading to Arlington.
The offense continues to roll, averaging seven runs per game over the past 10, and everyone is getting in on the act. Seven of the nine batters in the starting lineup registered at least one hit. Three different players – Lawrie, Stephen Vogt and Phegley – drove in at least two runs, and the A’s knocked out 14 hits total.
Starting pitching report:
Kendall Graveman (4-4) had this one coming. He was 0-2 with a no-decision over his past three starts despite going at least seven innings in each and allowing two or fewer runs. By the time he took the mound in the bottom of the first Wednesday, Graveman had a five-run cushion. He ate up seven-plus innings and allowed two runs on eight hits.
Pitching may not have been the story on this night, but lasting deep into the game allowed manager Bob Melvin to conserve his bullpen a night after the relief corps had to throw four innings.
Edward Mujica and Fernando Abad closed things out over the final two innings.
At the plate:
The A’s tied their season high for first-inning runs with five, and was it any surprise that Billy Burns got the party started? He doubled to left field to lead off the game and came around to score on Stephen Vogt’s double. Walks to Phegley and Butler set the table for Lawrie. He connected for his third career grand slam to continue a torrid month of June. He’s hitting .361 for the month (26-for-72) and has 10 multi-hit games in 20 games played in June.
Phegley, benefiting from extended playing time of late, also continues to turn heads. He’s hitting .349 in his past 20 games and has two homers and five RBI in the first two games of this series.
In the field:
The cherry on top of the sundae from a big win – an errorless effort from the A’s defense.
Sonny Gray (8-3, 1.95) takes the mound in Thursday’s 11:05 a.m. series finale. His 1.68 career ERA against the Rangers is the lowest by any pitcher against them with a minimum of 60 innings. Colby Lewis (7-3, 4.08) goes for the Rangers.