The Oakland A’s (48-35) lost two of three against the Texas Rangers (32-49) in the midweek series as the green and yellow try to regain the AL West crown.
After a series loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland A’s sat 1.5 games behind the Houston Astros and in the midst of a 4-6 skid.
Game One: Texas 5, Oakland A’s 4
Oakland fell victim to the hot offense from Texas and lost the opener 5-4 Tuesday evening.
With a solo homer from Matt Chapman in the bottom of the first, the Athletics clung to the early lead until the top of the fourth. James Kaprielian disposed of the first two Texas hitters, but fell behind Joey Gallo 3-1 before he belted a solo homer that tied the game 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Jed Lowrie hit a one-out single, and promptly scored as Ramon Laureano doubled to give Oakland a 2-1 lead.
The advantage proved to be short lived as a leadoff single and a proceeding double tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth.
Texas added another run in the top of the sixth as Gallo hit his second homer of the game giving the Rangers the late 3-2 lead. A two-run homer in the top of the ninth from Nick Solak added some insurance runs that pushed the lead to 5-2 for Texas.
Lowrie led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot and Mitch Moreland provided a solo bomb as well with one out to pull within one for Oakland. But the rally fizzled out and Texas hung on to win 5-4.
Game Two: Oakland A’s 3, Texas 1
Backed by a strong performance from Chris Bassitt on the mound, the Athletics evened the series at one with a 3-1 victory Wednesday evening.
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With a 10-pitch top of the first inning, Bassitt set the tone early as he continued his dominant month of June. While the A’s starter used 16 pitches in the top of the second, the Ohio native collected three K’s in two innings.
In the bottom of the second Oakland generated a three-run inning, which turned out to be all the team needed. A leadoff walk from Matt Chapman followed by a single from Chad Pinder gave the A’s a gold opportunity to push ahead. Lowrie flied out in foul territory that pushed Chapman to third. Sean Murphy hit a sac fly that drove in the first run of the game for the A’s.
Frank Schwindel stepped into the box with a runner on first and no outs. Schwindel, who played 832 games in the Minor League with his only Major League action in 2019 with the Royals, launched a 1-0 fastball down the left field line. As the ball towered over the pole and bounced into the second deck, the A’s pushed the lead to 3-0 behind his first MLB homerun.
With a 3-0 lead, Bassitt kept Texas off the scoreboard. Despite a two-out single in the top of the third he collected two more strikeouts. The only real trouble Bassitt faced came in the top of the sixth when a one-out single followed by a walk put runners in scoring position. A groundout pushed runners over 90 feet, but another groundout erased the threat.
It was not until the top of the ninth until Texas scored, with a solo homer via the red-hot Gallo, the Rangers made it 3-1. With a pair of singles after, Texas looked poised to break through, but a strikeout and groundout ended the rally as Oakland hung on to win.
Bassitt won his ninth game of the season with a final stat line of 7.0 innings pitched while surrendering three hits one walk and punched out seven. In the month of June, Bassitt went a robust 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and opponents batted a meager .215.
Game Three: Texas 8, Oakland A’s 3
Oakland lost the deciding game 8-3 as Texas bombarded the A’s pitching staff throughout the game Thursday afternoon.
Texas pushed across one in the top of the first behind a two-out RBI single from Gallo that gave them the early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second the A’s loaded the bases with one out but failed to even the score. Meanwhile in the top of the fourth, Texas tallied another run with a solo homer that made it 2-0. The Rangers poured on two more in the top of the fifth as a two-run homer from Gallo pushed the lead to 4-0.
While the Oakland offense collected three hits, two walks and two HBP, the team failed to rally off a run as Texas continued the assault.
In the top of the sixth, a solo homer gave Texas a 5-0 lead, another two runs came in the top of the seventh for the Rangers, and the eighth run scored by Texas came in the top of the eighth. Texas held a commanding 8-0 lead, but Oakland rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning.
As Tony Kemp and Chapman got on to start the inning, a fielder’s choice drove in the first run for the A’s. Pinder doubled home another run that shrunk the deficit to 8-2, and a groundout from Laureano made it 8-3.
The rally fell short and Texas won convincingly 8-3.
While the A’s post a respectable 48-35 record, the team is scuffing lately with a 5-8 record in the past four series. Oakland faces the Boston Redsox, Houston, and Texas again before the All-Star break, so there is a chance to reclaim the top spot in the AL West.
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