Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, A's 3
By Eric Gilmore
Special to ESPNDallas.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers overcame an early 3-1 deficit to defeat the Oakland A's 4-3 Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against the two-time defending American League West champions.
Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a leadoff double in the eighth against his former team, moved to third on Mitch Moreland's sacrifice bunt and scored on Donnie Murphy's sharp single to center, giving Texas a 4-3 lead.
Another no-decision: Right-hander Yu Darvish gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings and received his third straight no-decision. Considering his past luck against Oakland, Darvish can't complain. Darvish entered the game 1-6 with a 4.30 ERA in seven career starts against the A's. He was 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA in two career starts at the O.co Coliseum.
One bad inning: Darvish gave up three runs in the third inning, allowing a leadoff homer to Brandon Moss, a double to Eric Sogard and a two-run single to Coco Crisp. He had 48 pitches through two innings. Darvish stranded two baserunners in the third and escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth, striking out A's third baseman Josh Donaldson.
What a relief: Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria combined to blank the A's over the final three innings. Soria got the save and Cotts the victory. With one out in the ninth, A's shortstop Jed Lowrie reached second on shortstop Elvis Andrus' two-base throwing error, but Soria retired Donaldson on a fly ball to center and Yoenis Cespedes on a fly ball to left.
Deep thoughts: Rangers left-fielder Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run. It was Choo's 12th career leadoff home run and his first of the season. Choo, acquired as a free agent in December, drilled right-hander Dan Straily's 2-2 pitch over the right-field wall for his second homer of the season.
In support of Darvish: In his first three starts, Darvish allowed just two runs over 22.0 innings but went 1-0 with two no-decisions and never threw a pitch with a Rangers run on the scoreboard. His only two runs of support came in the top half of an inning before he left the game for a reliever. Choo ended that streak with his leadoff homer, and the Rangers added a run in the fourth and one in the fifth. That marked a season-high three runs of support for Darvish.
More signs of life: First baseman Prince Fielder went 2-for-4 with a double, drove in a run and scored a run as he continued fighting his way out of a slump. In the fifth inning with two out and runners at first and third, Fielder lined an RBI single to right, snapping an 0-for-9 skid with runners in scoring position.
No answer for Moss: Moss sent Darvish's first pitch in the second inning -- a belt-high fastball -- high and deep over the right-field wall for a home run. Moss homering off Darvish came as no surprise. He entered the game 5-for-15 with three home runs and five RBIs against Darvish. Now he has four career home runs off Darvish, tying the Angels' Mike Trout for the most by any opposing hitter.
After further review: In the top of the seventh, Choo beat out a ground ball for a single off left-hander Fernando Abad, but the call was overturned after a video review. To make matters worse, Choo hurt his left ankle when he landed hard on the bag. During the review, he went to the dugout and had his ankle taped, but he was replaced in the bottom of the seventh by former A's outfielder Michael Choice, who singled and stole second in the ninth.
Andrus' tough luck: Andrus singled and scored in the fifth inning and has now hit safely in 18 of 20 games to start the season. He also lined out to left field in the third and was robbed of extra bases in the seventh when A's center fielder Crisp made a leaping catch of Andrus' drive to left center. If the ball had eluded Crisp, Andrus might have had an inside-the-park home run.
Up next: Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Martinez (0-0, 4.50 ERA) will make his second career start Tuesday night in Game 2 of the three-game series. He'll face A's left-hander Tommy Milone (0-1, 4.09). First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.