Oakland pitcher Cole Irvin put a chill on Texas, but the Rangers made it interesting before the Athletics cruised to a 5-4 win at Oakland Coliseum to start a three-game series Friday night.
The Texas Rangers (42-50) became the third team to play a game in Florida and a game in California on consecutive days since 2000. It was the result of the Rangers starting the second half playing a one-match catch-up game. with the Miami Marlins and winning, 8-0, Thursday.
Rangers also played a game in the Eastern time zone, followed by a game in the Pacific time zone the following day, for the first time since September 12-13, 2007, when they played a game at Detroit, then the next game. in Oakland.
Texas couldn’t do much against Irvin (5-7), who gave up a run in the fourth inning when Adolis García hit Corey Seager from second base to tie the game at 1-1.
It marked the second straight game with an RBI for García, who entered the All-Star Break mired in a slump.
Irvin left after facing a batter in the eighth and up 4-1, as he threw a walk to Leody Taveras. He allowed three hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk while striking out eight.
The Rangers held a small rally after Irvin left. Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith each flew off A’s reliever Zach Jackson. But Rangers extended the inning after an error by A receiver Sean Murphy allowed Kole Calhoun to reach first on a strikeout and pass the ball. Marcus Semien then hit a flare from Jackson, which scored Taveras to cut the lead to 4-2.
Oakland brought in Sam Moll to take on Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, who lined up on center field to end the inning.
Athletics added a point in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-2. Oakland needed it.
Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe hit a commanding solo home run with two out in the ninth inning against athletic reliever Lou Trivino to cut Oakland’s lead to 5-3. Taveras followed that up with a walk. Duran came to the plate as the run tied and hit a left liner for a single to move Taveras to third. This gave Smith a chance to extend the inning, who picked a right to drive Taveras and displace Duran into second.
Up 5-4 Director of Athletics Mark Kotsay brought in AJ Puk to take on Calhoun. Puk then hit Calhoun with a 1-0 pitch to charge the bases, which sent Semien up.
With a chance to equalize or put Rangers ahead for the first time, Semien pulled out at third base to end the game.
The Athletics (34-62) opened the game in the bottom of the fifth, as they scored three and chased Rangers starter Spencer Howard (1-2) out of the game.
Oakland got to Howard with two outs, as Ramon Laureano hit a solo home run to right center field to give him a 2-1 lead. After Sean Murphy’s single, Seth Brown called and hit his 12th homer of the season, giving the Athletics a three-run lead. Then Elvis Andrus followed with a single.
That was it for Howard, who was trying to get past the fifth inning for a third straight start, but missed by one out. He allowed six hits, four runs and three walks while striking out three. Howard is one of several young starting pitchers trying to solidify a rotational spot behind the Rangers’ top two starters in Jon Gray — who won Thursday — and All-Star Martín Pérez, who is the likely starter for the game. Sunday in Oakland.
Taylor Hearn will start for the Rangers on Saturday against Oakland’s James Kaprielian. Sunday’s game will pit track and field star Paul Blackburn against Pérez.
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