Sunday, September 15, 2013
Rapid Reaction: A’s 5, Rangers 1
By Randy Jennings
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The losing streak got a little longer and the playoff road got a little more perilous for the Rangers on Sunday.
AL West rival Oakland handed Ron Washington’s team its sixth straight defeat, 5-1, before 42,980 at Rangers Ballpark, ending a homestand Texas would love to forget.
The defeat was a club-record matching seventh straight at the supposed friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark.
Texas extended its streak of not having a lead in any of the six games on the homestand. The Rangers lengthened another dubious feat of trailing in their last 34 consecutive innings, dating to Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh.
Four of the A’s runs came on homers. Texas, for the sixth consecutive game, was homerless.
Texas trails the A’s by 6.5 games with 14 games to play.
The Rangers trail Tampa Bay by a half-game in the wild-card race. Both are hotly pursued by Cleveland with the Yankees and Orioles still in contention.
Same result: It didn’t seem to matter that it was emergency starter Tommy Milone instead of Jarrod Parker on the mound for Oakland. Parker was a late scratch due to illness. Milone pitched five innings in the Texas heat and limited the Rangers to one run. Texas stranded three in scoring position thanks to Milone’s ability to get the key out or the Rangers inability to get the key hit.
Opposites attract: A positive sign in the first inning, a sighting of two opposite-field hits, including a two-out, two-strike single RBI single by A.J. Pierzynski. Elvis Andrus, who lined a single to right, raced home with the first Rangers run in 10 innings. It turned out to be the only one. In Saturday’s 1-0 loss, A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon peppered the outside corner. Rangers hitters had difficulty making the adjustment to opposite-field swings. With 10 hits, the Rangers had chances. But they also stranded 10.
Taking a chance: Maybe it has more to do with the Rangers' comeback abilities of late, but Ron Washington chose to play the infield at the cut of the grass with no outs in the fourth inning. The Rangers trailed 3-1 with A’s at second and third base. It is normally a move made late in a tight game. Martin Perez made it work. He struck out switch-hitter Alberto Callaspo and then retired Nate Freiman on a pop-up to first. Center fielder Craig Gentry chased down Josh Reddick’s deep fly ball to end the threat.
Good call: Jim Adduci got the start at first base for a slumping Mitch Moreland and delivered three hits. Washington chose to stick with Adduci, a left-handed hitter, even after the A’s changed to left-handed starting pitcher Milone.
Turning two: Perez’ shaky start could have been much worse if not for a slick double play in Oakland’s two-run first. Ian Kinsler went to his right to glove Jed Lowrie’s sharply-hit grounder and in one motion flipped the ball out of his glove to Andrus to start the double play.
More on Perez: The 22-year-old finished with a respectable three runs allowed in 6.1 innings. He was hurt by the home run ball, solo shots from Josh Donaldson (362 feet down the left field line) and Chris Young (412 feet in the A’s bullpen). Perez showed some moxie working out of a jam in the fourth.
Homer drought continues: While the A’s long ball stroke was working, the Rangers extended their streak of games without a home run to six. In 22 previous seasons, it has happened only one other time, in 1995.
Up next: The Rangers begin their final road trip of the regular season with four games in Tampa Bay on Monday followed by three next weekend in Kansas City. The Rangers are 42-32 on the road, tied with Boston for the most road wins in the AL.