ARLINGTON, Texas – One night after taking aim for the fences, the A’s took it to the Rangers in more methodical fashion Sunday.
They jammed the bases full of runners and then watched several players deliver damaging hit after damaging hit during a 9-3 win in the rubber match of a three-game series at Globe Life Park.
Five different Athletics came through with run-scoring singles or doubles, a different route to victory after Oakland administered Saturday’s knockout punch with four home runs.
It added up to the same desired effect on the scoreboard, as the A’s outscored the Rangers 14-4 over the final two games after dropping Friday’s opener 4-1.
On Sunday, the A’s looked like the major leagues’ highest scoring team, which they are. And the Rangers? They looked like the team with the American League’s highest ERA, which they are.
Starting pitching report
Scott Kazmir didn’t have to be his sharpest to ring up his 12th victory, leaving him one shy of his career high of 13 back in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Rays. Staked with an early five-run cushion, Kazmir went five innings with the only damage off him coming on a two-run homer from former Athletic Adam Rosales. Kazmir gave up seven hits and walked two. The fact that his pitch count sat at 94 at the end of five – on a night when the game-time temperature was 100 degrees – surely factored into Bob Melvin’s decision to go to the ‘pen early.
It marked just the fifth time in 21 starts this season that Kazmir has failed to complete six innings. But he helped himself by twice blowing fastballs by J.P. Arencibia for inning-ending strikeouts, once with runners on second and third and another time with the bases loaded.
Kazmir joined teammate Sonny Gray as one of five 12-game winners in the American League.
Eric O’Flaherty, Ryan Cook, Evan Scribner and Fernando Abad made sure things stayed unexciting after the A’s jumped out ot a big lead, which is just how manager Bob Melvin wanted it.
At the plate
Opportunity presented itself in the top of the second, and the A’s took advantage. Rangers starter Miles Mikolas (1-3) issued back-to-back walks to Jed Lowrie and Eric Sogard with one out. Then Mikolas’ own throwing error brought in Oakland’s first run. John Jaso followed with an RBI bloop single, then Stephen Vogt doubled home another run and Yoenis Cespedes drove home two more with a double of his own to make it 5-0.
Leading 5-2, the A’s broke it open in the fifth. Eric Sogard doubled down the right-field line to score Josh Donaldson, and after Craig Gentry walked, Jaso drove a two-run double to the gap in right-center for an 8-2 cushion.
On a day that center fielder/leadoff man Coco Crisp left the team to get his injured neck examined, the A’s saw several players who were riding hot streaks remain in their groove.
Jaso (2-for-5, 3 RBI) is now hitting .380 with 13 RBI over his last 15 games. Reddick (3-for-5, RBI) is 8-for-21 since coming off the disabled list. Eric Sogard, fighting to keep his playing time at second now that Alberto Callaspo is off the D.L., is 7 for his past 19.
Oh yeah, Stephen Vogt went 2-for-5 and is hitting .359 on the season.
In the field
Mikolas hurt himself with the throwing error in the second, and his shortstop, Elvis Andrus, committed a double-error in the third – a misplay on a grounder followed by an errant throw – that did not wind up hurting the Rangers.
Kazmir allowed three singles in the fifth but came away unscored upon with help from a 4-6-3 double play.
The announced turnout was 38,915.
After just three days apart, the A’s and Astros will meet for another three-game series, this time at Minute Maid Park, where the A’s split four games back in April. Monday – Jesse Chavez (8-6, 3.14) vs. Brett Oberholtzer (2-7, 4.32), 5:10 p.m. Tuesday – Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 2.70) vs. Scott Feldman (4-8, 4.60), 5:10 p.m. Wednesday – Jason Hammel (0-3, 7.11) vs. Dallas Keuchel (9-7, 3.11), 11:10 a.m.