Glen & Ray: Pressure on Griffin to earn series split
Leonys Martin scores the go-ahead run past Derek Norris in the Rangers' 9-4 win over the A's. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
This one had to hurt the A's, and not just the foul tip catcher Derek Norris took down below that forced him to leave the game.
There was no update on his condition, though the A's were beat up as well in a 9-4 loss to the Rangers, who did not resemble the offensively-challenged club that entered the day having lost seven of eight games. In fact, the A's (43-31) have now lost four of six and need to win Thursday's series finale to salvage a split of the four-game set.
The A's, who scored 23 runs in their previous three games, could only muster six hits, while the Rangers banged out 14 hits.
Starting pitching report
Tommy Milone was not sharp, as evidenced by his being charged with a season high-tying six runs and a season high-equaling eight hits, in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander also struck out a season-low one and walked one in seeing his record drop to 6-7 and his ERA rise to 3.98 from 3.61.
Dan Otero had a rough go of it, surrendering hits to four of the five batters he faced, and it would have been five were it not for a brilliant stop up the middle by second baseman Eric Sogard on an Elvis Andrus ground ball. It was the only out Otero would record. Jesse Chavez fared slightly better, though a wild pitch allowed a run to score. Pat Neshek, at least, authored a scoreless eighth inning.
At the plate
Chris Young insists batting in the leadoff spot matters little after that first plate appearance. But his results there say otherwise. Young was 2-for-5 with a three-run home run in the fifth inning that gave the A's a brief 3-2 lead. Young's homer, his fourth three-run homer of the season and his seventh home run overall, came on a 3-and-1, 91-mph fastball from Rangers starter Justin Grimm. At that point, Young was 5-6 batting leadoff for the A's. He was the lone A's batter with multiple hits.
In the field
With one out in the fifth, Leonys Martin at third and the score tied 3-3, Nelson Cruz grounded Milone's full-count offering to A's third baseman Josh Donaldson. And with Martin breaking on contact, Donaldson stole a glance at second base and hesitated as his throw home was wide to Norris' right. Martin slid in just ahead of Norris' swipe tag for the go-ahead run.
The Rangers announced a crowd of 39,274.
A.J. Griffin (5-6, 3.93 ERA) is riding a career-worst three-game losing streak, having last won on May 25, in Houston. The right-hander has faced Texas three times in his career, going 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA over 15 2/3 innings. Griffin beat the Rangers on May 13 in Oakland, 5-1, allowing the one run and six hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. The Rangers will start Josh Lindblom, who has faced Oakland twice, with one start, and the right-hander is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA against the A's.