Felix Doubront has a place on a major league pitching staff, Oakland Athletics assistant general manager David Forst said while chatting with Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo on the A's Radio Network, but Forst failed to mention which one. And so Felix Doubront gave up two three-run home runs on the way to the Oakland Athletics losing the second game of this three-game set against the Texas Rangers 10-3.
Tonight's proceedings began with early signs that this might turn out to be a pitcher's duel, so long as BABIP luck cooperated. Colby Lewis, who retired the first 21 A's he faced the last time he met Oakland, retired his first six batters. Felix Doubront retired six of his first seven batters.
Oakland actually got on the board first in this one, earning three consecutive base runners with a walk, single, and Carson Blair RBI single to score Brett Lawrie and give the A's a 1-0 lead. Billy Burns laid down his first sacrifice bunt of the year, but the A's ultimately left the bases loaded and failed to add on.
The Rangers responded by lighting up Felix Doubront in the top of the fourth. Three consecutive singles led to one run, and then an Elvis Andrus home run made it a four-spot for the inning to make it 4-1 Texas.
The fifth inning proved to be Doubront's last after allowing a leadoff double and walk, followed by a no-doubt Adrian Beltre three-run home run to make it 7-1 Texas. Doubront was allowed to face the following two lefty batters, retiring Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland, before Arnold Leon entered.
Leon retired Elvis Andrus on a pop-up to the mound to end the fifth, trailing 7-1. He went on to face the minimum in the sixth and seventh innings to complete 2⅓ innings of scoreless relief.
The bottom of the fifth saw Billy Burns hit a rather curious two-out triple down the right field line that appeared to stay behind the Texas bullpen chairs. Oakland's ground rules indicate that a ball that is "lodging on, under or in the bullpen seating area" is treated as out of play, which would have put Burns automatic double as a batted ball out of play. Rangers manager Jeff Banister questioned the call of the ball remaining in play, but what I think happened was that with the expanded bullpens, some of the chairs were actually situated outside the "bullpen seating area." Observe:
You can see that the chair is not under the tiny bullpen covering that defines the bullpen seating area, and there is a universal ground rule that chairs are not supposed to be brought onto the playing surface. The calling umpire may have ruled that the ball was actually on the playing surface and not lodged in the "bullpen seating area." Just a guess.
Anyway, Billy Burns actually rounded third on the play, but Choo successfully recovered the ball such that Burns would have been in a rundown, except that Texas catcher Bobby Wilson was expecting a play at the plate and stumbled over trying to make a tag on a ghost runner:
In the end, it was Oakland's 41st triple, breaking the Oakland record for triples in a season. Burns was stranded at third after Mark Canha flew out to right field.
Oakland rejoined the scoring in the sixth as Josh Reddick led off with a home run, his 20th four-bagger of 2015, to make it 7-2.
Then Eric Sogard homered to lead off the seventh! He sent Sam Freeman's pitch into the third or fourth row of section 148 to make it 7-3.
Sogard 1st HR since August 6th, 2014 . 141 Games. #Athletics— Joe Salvatore (@radiojoee) September 24, 2015
Daniel Coulombe is beginning to look like a nice little pickup for the A's as he pitched a scoreless eighth, bringing his ERA to 3.18 with the A's in 5⅔ innings. R.J. Alvarez continues to be not, though there's still time for him. He coughed up three more runs in the ninth to make it 10-3.
And so the A's fall to 64-88 while the Texas Rangers extend their lead in the AL West to three games and reduce their magic number to win the division to eight, and to reach the postseason to six. Tomorrow, Chris Bassitt returns to the mound and will go against Texas left-hander Cole Hamels to finish the home American League schedule. But tonight from Oakland it was the Texas Rangers 10, the Oakland Athletics 3.