The scorching heat in Texas was no match for the Oakland Athletics’ and the Texas Rangers’ offenses on Tuesday night. However, it was the A’s who scored six runs in the late-innings en route to a 8-6 win in front of 35,889 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Key hits from Josh Phegley and 1 2/3 scoreless frames from Drew Pomeranz secured Oakland’s 32nd win of 2015 – along with Pomeranz’s first career save.
Elvis Andrus got the ball rolling for the Rangers in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double to left field against A’s starter Jesse Chavez. A ground out to second from Leonys Martin ultimately allowed Andrus to advance to third base. A few pitches later, he would come in to score on a passed ball from Phegley, which put Texas on top 1-0 after two.
The A’s would respond in the top of the third with back-to-back singles from Marcus Semien and Billy Burns. Eric Sogard then came up clutch against Rangers starter Chi Chi Gonzalez. Sogard singled on a soft line drive to center field, scoring Semien from second base. Phegley added on with a solo shot in the fifth; however, the one-run lead would disintegrate quickly with a two-run homer from Rougned Odor, back-to-back doubles from Joey Gallo and Prince Fielder, and a single from Andrus – making the score 5-2 Texas and concluding the night for Chavez.
Despite a three-run deficit, the A’s wouldn’t roll over. With a 6-2 winning record in their last eight games, the green and gold responded with four runs of their own. A leadoff walk from Ben Zobrist, followed by a hit-by-pitch to Billy Butler set the stage for clutch doubles to center field from Ike Davis, Phegley and Semien. Oakland regained a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom half.
Zobrist gave Oakland a few insurances runs in the top of the seventh – sending a 2-2 fastball from Keone Kela over the right-center field fence. The A’s bullpen sure made things interesting in Texas’ half of the eighth with runners on first and second. With one away, Pomeranz struck out Gallo on a 92 mile-per-hour fastball before inducing a 4-3 ground out from the dangerous hitting Fielder. Holding onto a 8-6 lead heading into the ninth, Pomeranz would retire Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre on a 4-6-3 double play. This slugfest was capped off with a swinging-strike knuckle-curve from the southpaw… game over.
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The Good/Player of the Game
- Phegley continues his hot-streak at the plate, posting a .327 batting average with four long balls and seven runs batted in during an 18-game span. Let’s not forget his stellar 2-for-4 performance tonight against the Rangers. Both of Phegley’s hits occurred with two outs in the fifth and sixth innings.
- Since June 9, Butler has mustered eight hits in his last 32 at-bats. Six of those hits came against the San Diego Padres, four of those occurring at the O.Co Coliseum. All hits were against opposing right-handed pitchers.
- Billy Burns extended his career-high and increased his 12-game hitting streak to 13 games with an opposite field single off Gonzalez in the top of the third inning.
- Starting pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, who takes the mound for the Rangers on Wednesday, possess an 0-2 record with a 5.06 earned run average in four Arlington starts this season. In those two home losses, Rodriguez has failed to make it through the fifth inning – surrendering nine runs and 13 hits in that time.
- The last time the A’s were nine games under .500 in 2015 was on May 12. Pomeranz defeated the Boston Red Sox in Oakland by a score of 9-2. In that game, Pomeranz pitched seven frames of four hit baseball, allowing just two runs and striking out three. This game snapped an Athletics’ six-game losing streak.
- Kendall Graveman (3-4, 4.02 ERA) will get the call on Wednesday against the 36-year old veteran Rodriguez (4-2, 3.20 ERA). In his last three starts, Graveman has pitched seven innings or more – while only allowing four runs – with an outstanding strikeout-to-walk-ratio of 19:3. The second game of this three-game series begins at 5:05 PM PT.