Before the game began, we found out that Coco Crisp would be out of the lineup (scheduled day off) and Cespedes would be DHing again. While the beat writers tweeted that it was simply a day off for Crisp, Cespedes' nagging hamstring is becoming a concern. That said, Chris Young performed ably today -- good thing the A's have some outfield depth, right?
In the first 3 innings, the A's would go in order in the 1st, and Rangers' starter Justin Grimm faced only two over the minimum for the next two. A Josh Donaldson walk, Eric Sogard single (and caught stealing), and Young single accounted for those baserunners. A's starter Tommy Milone had a 1-2-3 first, but was quickly touched for two runs with no outs in the second. After an Adrian Beltre single, Lance Berkman drilled a home run into the the A's bullpen in left center to put the Rangers up 2-0. While he would retire the next 3 in order, he also allowed 2 hits in the 3rd and it seemed clear Milone did not have his best stuff today. Indeed, he would allow 8 hits, and walk one and K only one, as well, while allowing 6 ER. Not a good line for him, tonight. He did end up setting down the Rangers in order in the 4th.
The A's meanwhile, bunched their runs in the 5th inning tonight. After being set down without a peep in the 4th, Josh Reddick and Eric Sogard walked in the 5th to put two on for Young. He mashed a 3-1 fastball up and slightly away into the CF grass, briefly giving the the A's the lead, 3-2. This only served to awaken the Texas bats, albeit not in the powerful way we are used to. They pecked Milone to death in the 5th, causing him to throw 38 pitches: single by David Murphy, single by Leonys Martin, sacrifice fly by Ian KInsler, Elvis Andrus walk, Nelson Cruz (run-scoring) fielders' choice. Cruz's FC was more of a mental error on Donaldson's part, as he looked towards 2nd thinking double play while Martin came home. He decided about a half-second too late to throw to home, and rushed it to the 1B side, making it impossible for Derek Norris to come back and tag the runner.
In the 6th the A's would threaten with two on for Josh Reddick. With two outs, though, he struck out swinging. This is when the Rangers would peck some more: two singles by Robinson Chirinos and Murphy knocked out Milone for Dan Otero. Otero wasn't much relief, as he also allowed two singles, these to Martin and Kinsler, the latter leaving runners at 1st and 2nd with one out and making it 6-3. Eric Sogard would do his part to keep it close, showing his range as he made a sprawling play on an Elvis Andrus bouncer up the middle, keeping it within 3. On the next play, Jed Lowrie showed his lack of range, unable to flag down Cruz's bouncer to take the Rangers lead to grand slam range. After this, it was just gravy for them. Adrian Beltre doubled to make it 8-3, and that brought in Jesse Chavez out of the bullpen into a familiar role: mop up. In the 7th, another double by Murphy would make it 9-3. Only a Cespedes double in the 8th, advancing on Moss' deep flyball, and scoring on Donaldson's single would indicate that the A's offense was still alive. Indeed, they hit about as poorly as they pitched today, managing only 6 base hits total.
On the injury front, Derek Norris left the game after what can best be described as a cup shot. He was in obvious pain, and no word yet on whether he will need to miss any time, or is simply considering investing in fertility preservation.
Tomorrow, the A's will attempt to avoid a series loss. A.J. Griffin will see if he is up to the task against Josh Lindblom. Alex Hall will have your early game thread at 11:05 AM.