Melvin: 'We're having a tough time putting two games in a row together'
By taking two out of three from the A's over the weekend, the Rangers trail Oakland by 2.5 games in the AL West. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Twitter hijinks aside, should the A's be concerned?
In getting shut out, 4-0, by Texas in a finale Sunday, Oakland concluded a season-high 10-game homestand just 5-5. And the A's lead in the American League West, which was six games at the conclusion of business on Monday night, is down to 2 1/2 games over the Rangers.
It was the second time in five games the A's were shut out.
A's manager Bob Melvin said before the game the A's (64-47) have to play the rest of the season with the urgency of a team trailing by five games, rather than coasting as a pace setter.
The Rangers (62-50) are probably in for a gut check Monday as they are expected to lose leading home run hitter Nelson Cruz to a season-ending suspension as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. If so, he went out with a bang, hitting his 27th homer, a solo shot, to lead off the second inning.
Starting pitching report
It's no secret A.J. Griffin gives up the long ball. And after the Rangers tagged him for two more Sunday, the right hander has surrendered a major league-leading 28 home runs on the season. In fact, it's the most an A's pitcher has given up since 2009, when Trevor Cahill gave up 27, and there is still almost two months left in this season. Dan Haren was taken deep 31 times in 2006. Sunday, though, Griffin gave up four runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings to fall to 10-8 on the year. It was the fourth straight start, and fifth time in six appearances, Griffin has given up at least two homers.
Jerry Blevins did his job with the one batter he faced getting Leonys Martin to line out to end the seventh. Pat Neshek, who amused by Tweeting out photos of Matt Garza in drag, worked a scoreless eighth before Evan Scribner, recalled from triple-A Sacramento on Saturday, did the same in the ninth.
At the plate
The A's had one hit through six innings, a single by Nate Freiman, who would then get a second hit in the seventh inning. Chris Young would later single in the inning and Coco Crisp would get a hit in the eighth, but that was it against Rangers lefty Derek Holland, who threw eight shutout innings at the A's, striking out 10 and walking two. The A's threatened against Rangers closer Joe Nathan -- Yoenis Cespedes had an infield single -- and Oakland had runners at first and third with one out, but new acquisition Alberto Callaspo grounded into a 6-4-3 game-ending double play. Callaspo is 0-for-10 as a member of the A's and in an 0-17 slump overall.
In the field
OK, so, Yoenis Cespedes is known for his bat. And his speed. And his arm. His glove? Yeah, well…Cespedes misplayed Ian Kinsler's drive to the left-field wall with two out in the first inning and dropped the fly ball. Kinsler advanced to second base and, one batter later, Adrian Beltre singled him home for the 1-0 Rangers lead.
The A's announced a crowd of 23,263 at the O.co Coliseum, most of whom booed Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, who probably played his last game of the season Sunday.
Tweet o' da game
uhhh homerism….and yes I'm booing Cruz and cheering colon -- @RaiderPride2K11, in response to my Tweet asking what the difference was between what Nelson Cruz is doing now and what Bartolo Colon did prior to being suspended last year.
The A's have an off day Monday as they travel to Cincinnati for a quick two-game interleague series. The matchups, then: Dan Straily (6-5, 4.41 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (10-3, 3.38) and Bartolo Colon (14-3, 2.50) vs. Homer Bailey (6-10, 3.55).