OAKLAND – The A’s had plenty of fight in them offensively Monday night, but not enough to make up for their pitching and defense.
The Texas Rangers took it to them in a 14-8 victory that opened this three-game series at the Coliseum. The runs allowed were a season high for the A’s, as were Texas’ 16 hits. In fact, no opponent had scored in double digits against Oakland this season before Monday.
The slugfest continued an odd trend in this season series, as the Rangers have won all four games so far in Oakland and the A’s swept the only three games played in Arlington so far.
A’s starter Drew Pomeranz didn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his worst effort since entering the starting rotation. The A’s committed three errors that didn’t help their cause. And two familiar faces did much of the damage for the visitors.
Former Athletic Donnie Murphy homered twice and drove in three runs, and Michael Choice – traded from Oakland to Texas in the offseason – added a two-run homer of his own. Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos each drove in three runs for Texas, which jumped out to a 10-2 lead before the A’s battled their way back to get as close as 11-8 at one point.
Starting pitching report
After the best back-to-back starts of his career, Pomeranz’s momentum hit a pothole Monday night. The Rangers knocked him out after just 3 2/3 innings, and he was tagged for a career-high eight runs (seven earned, which wasn’t a career high). Pomeranz (5-4) gave up eight hits, and it was clear early on this would be no pitcher’s duel.
The A’s spotted their lefty a 2-0 lead in the first, but Texas tied it in the second with help from a Jed Lowrie error that started the rally. The roof caved during a six-run fourth, which was highlighted by a deep two-run homer from Donnie Murphy, one of two former Athletics who did damage Monday. A walk and a single then set up Daniel Robertson’s RBI single, and Elvis Andrus beat out a potential double-play grounder to score another.
After Pomeranz walked Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Cook was called in from the bullpen. He gave up Beltre’s two-run double, a play on which right fielder Stephen Vogt, normally a catcher, misjudged the liner and had it go over his head. That made it 8-2.
Pomeranz’s struggles might have highlighted the pitching woes Monday, but Cook has not looked sharp over six outings since returning from a forearm strain. After Beltre’s double scored two, Cook gave up a two-run homer the next inning to another ex-Athletic, Michael Choice, to make it 10-2. Cook has appeared in six games since coming off the D.L. and posted a 10.39 ERA (5 ER in 4 1/3 IP). He’s given up nine hits and five walks.
Jeff Francis was charged with two runs over two innings as the A’s were eating away at Texas’ lead.
At the plate
If there was a silver lining for A’s manager Bob Melvin, it was the sight of his hitters continuing to round back into form. Oakland banged out 15 hits, and on most nights, that production would translate into a victory. Yoenis Cespedes drove in four runs, including a three-run homer. Brandon Moss hit a mammoth homer in the fifth and Coco Crisp had three hits and two runs from the leadoff spot.
In two games hitting third in place of Josh Donaldson, Cespedes has six RBI.
In the field
Lowrie couldn’t come up with a ball up the middle in the second, which aided the Rangers’ two-run rally. After the A’s had climbed to within 11-8, they played the infield in with a runner at third in the eighth. Second baseman Alberto Callaspo charged Shin-Soo Choo’s hard grounder with thoughts of going home, but it got past him for an error and Robertson scored to make it 12-8. The A’s finished with three errors.
With Derek Jeter and the Yankees having left town, the A’s-Rangers series opener drew 12,412, which is about normal for a Monday night at the Coliseum.
In two starts against Oakland this season, Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.11) has pitched 9 1/3 innings and allowed 14 hits, seven earned runs and six walks. The A’s will try to continue that success behind Tommy Milone (4-3, 3.47) in Tuesday’s 7:05 p.m. contest.