Glen & Ray: A's squandered too many opportunities
The Rangers took three of four from the A's and now trail Oakland by just one game in the AL West. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Josh Donaldson was running from first base on the pitch, a full-count offering from Joe Nathan to Seth Smith with two out in the ninth. So when Texas center fielder Craig Gentry misplayed Smith's line drive single, the ball kicking away to Gentry's left, A's third-base coach Mike Gallego began waving Donaldson in.
Until he put the stop sign on. Too late. Donaldson, who was hitting third as Gallego put up the stop sign, kept going and shortstop Elvis Andrus' relay throw was perfect, catcher A.J. Pierzynski's swipe tag getting Donaldson just before he slid across home plate. Ballgame.
The A's were just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base. And every time the A's scored, the Rangers answered. Shut-down inning? Not for Oakland in this series finale.
In dropping three of four to the Rangers, and having lost five of seven, Oakland (43-32) saw its lead in the American League West fall to one game over Texas.
Starting pitching report
A.J. Griffin last won a game on May 25. And after being charged with two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 5 1/3 innings, his winless streak is now at five straight starts. The right-hander threw 98 pitches, 62 strikes. He surrendered a solo home run to Geovany Soto in the third inning.
Ryan Cook's wild pitch allowed an inherited runner -- Ian Kinsler -- to score and tie the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning and Sean Doolittle gave up two runs in the eighth to turn a 3-2 Oakland lead into a 4-3 Rangers advantage. Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless eighth, the first time since the fourth inning the Rangers went down scoreless. Doolittle (3-2) absorbed the loss.
At the plate
The A's banged out 12 hits, with Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson both having three-hit days and Brandon Moss and Smith adding two hits apiece. But Oakland simply could not get over the hump, not with such a putrid showing with runners in scoring position and stranding so many runners. Having the bases loaded in the sixth inning with none out and coming away with only one run, on a walk, personified the A's woes at the plate.
In the field
With two out in the seventh inning and runners at first and second, left-handed hitting Leonys Martin hit a high chopper to the right of first baseman Moss, who fielded the ball cleanly. But the left-handed Doolittle, who falls off the mound to the right side, could not beat Martin to the bag for Moss' flip. The inning continued and the Rangers scored two runs a batter later on Kinsler's full-count single up the middle to take the 4-3 lead. Perhaps Moss should have let second baseman Lowrie field the ball while covering first?
The Rangers announced a crowd of 30,361.
Bartolo Colon (9-2, 2.89 ERA) has won his last six starts and the winnings streak is tied for the second longest of his career. In those six starts, covering 43 innings, he has a 1.05 ERA and has not allowed a home run. The last A's pitcher to win six straight starts was Dan Haren, between July 26 and Aug. 21, 2006, and the last A's pitcher to have won at least 10 games before the end of June was Mark Mulder in 2004. Colon, who beat the Mariners, 10-2, last Sunday, is 17-12 with a 3.92 EAR in 34 career starts against Seattle. In 12 career starts at Safeco Field, the right-hander is 10-1 with a 1.91 ERA. The Mariners counter with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2, 2.06), who was the losing pitcher against Colon on Sunday. He is 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA against the A's in five career appearances, four starts.