The A’s put themselves in position for victory for the second night in a row, only to be dealt Texas-sized heartbreak once again.
The Rangers scored four runs in the seventh off an Oakland bullpen that’s suddenly looking very vulnerable, and Texas pocketed a 6-5 win at Globe Life Park.
Sonny Gray was in line for his first victory since last summer as the A’s took a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the seventh. But the Rangers struck big off Ryan Dull and Liam Hendriks. They loaded the bases off Dull, who began the inning, then Elvis Andrus tied the game with a two-run single off Hendriks and Nomar Mazara added a two-run double for a 6-4 Rangers lead.
The bullpen opened this six-game road trip not having allowed a run over three consecutive games. But closer Santiago Casilla coughed up a 2-1 lead Friday and the ‘pen couldn’t hold Saturday’s lead, zapping the momentum the A’s had built on a 4-2 homestand. At 16-20, they fell back into sole possession of last place in the American League West.
Starting pitching report:
Gray was in line for his first victory since July 26 after throwing six innings of two-run ball. It was his best of three starts since coming back off the disabled list. He held the Rangers to five hits, walking two and striking out three over 106 pitches.
Dull’s results have not been great when pitching on the back end of back-to-back outings. His ERA shot up to 14.40 (8 ER in 5 IP) when pitching on no days’ rest. He loaded the bases on a single and two walks when Melvin called for Hendriks with one out. The righty had been excellent of late with nine consecutive scoreless outings, but he gave up the costly tying and go-ahead hits, with three of the four runs that inning charged to Dull (1-2).
At the plate:
The A’s, 2-for-25 with runners in scoring position over their previous four games heading into the night, got a couple hits in the clutch in building their lead. Yonder Alonso delivered a two-out run scoring single in the fourth to tie the game. Then Matt Joyce’s two-run single in the fifth gave them a 3-2 lead. Trailing 6-4 in the eighth, Alonso struck again with his 12th homer, turning around a 97 mile-per-hour fastball from Keona Kela.
Jaff Decker cleared waivers and the A’s outrighted the outfielder to Triple-A Nashville.
In the field:
Neither team committed an error.
Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.67) takes the ball as the A’s close out this three-game series Sunday at 12:05 p.m. Former Athletic A.J. Griffin (4-0, 2.45) has been excellent for Texas this season, helping to make up for the injury to Cole Hamels.