OAKLAND –Things turned sour in a big way for the A’s on Tuesday night.
They squandered a late-inning lead with shaky bullpen work, then fought back in the bottom of the 10th before stranding the tying run at third and losing 6-5.
It was no surprise that Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre played a major role in the A’s misery. His homer off Chris Resop in the top of the 10th broke a 4-4 tie. Mitch Moreland went deep to center two batters later – his second homer of the game – and it proved to be important.
These kinds of losses don’t go down easy. The A’s fought from behind to forge a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning, only to watch its bullpen let it slip away. The Rangers scored the tying run off Ryan Cook in the eighth, then Resop continued his recent struggles by giving up the two long balls in the 10th.
Beltre has 12 homers 26 RBI in his past 29 games against the A’s, and so many of his hits are game-changers.
Starting pitching report Bartolo Colon did what he does best – throw strikes, eat up some innings and give the A’s a chance to win. He was pulled after six innings and just 77 pitches, but there weren’t many hard-hit balls off him other than Mitch Moreland’s two-run homer in the fourth. Texas scored three times that inning to command a 3-0 lead.
Colon did well to keep the Rangers off the board in the sixth, after the A’s scored two runs in the fifth to pull within a run. The right-hander gave up three runs and four hits over six innings and walked one. Your oddball stat of the night: This marked the first start in Colon’s career in which he didn’t record a strikeout while pitching more than four innings.
The A’s were set up nicely, with Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour lined up to protect a 4-3 lead. Doolittle struck out Ian Kinsler to strand a runner at third in the seventh, but Cook faltered in the eighth. Two singles put runners on the corners with one out, and Nelson Cruz tied the game with a sacrifice fly. That was Cook’s first career run allowed against Texas in 10 appearances.
Balfour did the job in the ninth. An error from Adam Rosales put two runners on with one out, but Balfour struck out Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to end the threat, both on weak swings.
Resop has now allowed 12 runs in his past 11 outings.
At the plate
With Texas lefty Derek Holland bringing mid-90s heat early in the game and complementing it with nasty off-speed stuff, it seemed it might be a quiet night for the A’s. But they woke up with two runs in the fifth to cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2. Credit Jed Lowrie with a clutch at-bat that inning. Adam Rosales grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded, bringing home Oakland’s first run but potentially snuffing out a bigger rally. Lowrie followed with an RBI double to the left field corner, changing the complexion of that inning.
The A’s took the lead in the sixth. Josh Donaldson led off with a double as part of his 4 for 5 night. He made a mad dash home on Luke Montz’s medium-deep sacrifice fly and slid in with the tying run. Seth Smith singled with two outs to drive Holland from the game, and Nate Freiman doubled off Robbie Ross to score Smith from first and put the A’s ahead.
Oakland teased fans in the bottom of the 10th, trailing by two. Derek Norris and John Jaso walked with one out against Rangers closer Joe Nathan. Seth Smith delivered an RBI double to make it 6-5 and put runners on second and third. Brandon Moss was walked to load the bases, but Daric Barton struck out and pinch hitter Eric Sogard grounded to second to end it.
In the field
More sloppiness from a team that has shown its share of defensive lapses. They committed two errors and now have 26 through 41 games. Jed Lowrie dropped a routine pop-up in the seventh. It was a pretty tough wind, but still a play that has to be made. Rosales’ error in the ninth could have been a killer in a tie game. He let Craig Gentry’s grounder bounce off his glove on a backhand attempt, but Balfour made sure that mistake wasn’t costly.
The crowd of 12,969 was treated to highlights of the Warriors-Spurs game between innings. That was only good if you’re from San Antonio.
Dan Straily’s time in the rotation could end shortly as Brett Anderson nears his return from the D.L. But Straily can make his case to stick around Wednesday when he starts the series finale against Texas. He pitched well in his only other appearance against the Rangers, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run last September in Arlington. Alexi Ogando takes the hill for Texas.