It’s one thing to avenge getting swept in your own ballpark, but this was ridiculous.
The A’s spent three days pounding the Texas Rangers into submission, capped by a 12-1 dismantling Wednesday that completed a sweep at Globe Life Park and served as a convincing counter-punch to the Rangers’ own sweep last week at the Coliseum.
Oakland outscored Texas 25-4 in the series and opened up a three-game lead in the American League West as they move on to Fenway Park to finish out this 10-game road trip.
They won Monday and Tuesday by knocking around the Rangers’ two best starters – Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. On Wednesday they victimized left-hander Robbie Ross for 10 runs (six earned) and 11 hits and chased him in the fourth inning. Texas cooperated with a defensive meltdown that included two errors from shortstop Elvis Andrus, a two-time All-Star who looked as if he’s forgotten he’s one of the game’s slicker-fielding middle infielders. Two more errors came on the same play during the A’s three-run rally in the fourth that made it a 10-0 game.
But the outcome already had been decided after the A’s batted around in a seven-run third inning that included six hits and 10 batters going to the plate. By that point, a TKO should have been called.
The A’s finished April with an 18-9 record, their 11th consecutive winning month dating back to June 2012. That ties the second longest streak in Oakland history for that category. They posted 13 winning months in a row from September 1970-September 1972.
Starting pitching report
Handed a double-digit lead after 3½ innings, Jesse Chavez (2-0) didn’t have to be particularly sharp. But he was superb, giving up just one hit and one walk over seven innings and striking out eight. After his first subpar effort of the season in his last start in Houston, when he gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings, Chavez was back to the excellent form he showed over his first four starts. He lowered his ERA to 1.89, which would move him into a tie for eighth among the best ERAs in the A.L. among starting pitchers.
Between Sonny Gray’s complete game Monday and Chavez’s seven-inning stint Wednesday, the bullpen got a good rest in this series. Luke Gregerson and Jim Johnson finished up the good work that Chavez started.
At the plate
Most demoralizing for the Rangers in this series had to be the way Oakland beat up on their starting pitchers. Darvish, Perez and Ross combined to post a 14.30 ERA in the series, allowing 25 hits in just 11 1/3 innings.
Wednesday marked the sixth time in the last 15 games that the A’s have scored at least nine runs. They poured it on with their seven-run third off Ross (1-2). Josh Donaldson had an RBI single, Yoenis Cespedes drove in two with a double. After Derek Norris beat out an infield single, Alberto Callaspo’s slow grounder rolled through Andrus’ legs to let another run score. A groundout from Nick Punto scored another and then No. 9 hitter Eric Sogard capped the rally with a two-run single.
Callaspo and Derek Norris each had three hits, and Norris is now hitting at a .500 clip over his last 10 games, pushing his average to .386 overall.
In the field
Andrus airmailed a throw over first base for his first error on Josh Donaldson’s groudner in the first. Then he let Callaspo’s grounder go right through him. Nick Punto, spelling Jed Lowrie at shortstop, committed the A’s only error when he let J.P. Arencibia’s sharp grounder get under his glove in the bottom of the fifth.
The A’s get their first exposure to the A.L. East with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox starting Friday at Fenway Park. Dan Straily (1-1, 5.14) matches up against Clay Buchholz (2-2, 6.66) in the 4:10 p.m. opener. Tommy Milone (0-2, 4.56) and Jon Lester (2-4, 3.10) hook up on Saturday at 10:35 a.m. and Sonny Gray (4-1, 1.76) faces off against John Lackey (4-2, 3.83) in Sunday’s 10:35 a.m. road trip finale.