This game went like the previous 2 games in this series: The A’s scored early then largely failed to get anything of interest done on offense, while making crucial mistakes to hand over runs to the Rangers.
The game started promisingly. Coco vested a home run to right field to put the A’s up 1-0 and Khris Davis took a walk. Not bad, right?
We were also able to shut the Rangers down early. Smolinski played a ball on a hop that he maybe could have gotten to, though it’s understandable to not want to risk a dive early in the game when it wasn’t necessary. Another single got past a diving Muncy to put runners on the corners with two outs, but Manaea got a strikeout to escape the inning unscathed.
The A’s got a little rally going with 2 outs in the top of the 3rd. Danny Valencia and Stephen Vogt hit back to back singles, but Khris Davis squared up with a hanger and launched it…to shallow right field. The inning ended as a classic teAse, the first of many on the night.
Just as in the previous games in this series, Oakland’s lead would not last. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Manaea threw a changeup to Jonathan Lucroy that Lucroy didn’t miss. It wasn’t a terrible pitch but it should have been a little bit lower. Lucroy hit the ball deep to left field and the game was tied 1-1. Hilariously, the smoke from the post-HR fireworks settled in a shroud over the diamond, causing the game to be delayed for a couple of minutes. We need those jet streams!
Smolinski wouldn’t let the tie last long. On the third pitch of the 5th inning, Jake absolutely launched a high fastball into left field to put the A’s back up 2-1.
But again, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Manaea gave up a single to Elvis Andrus, a double (of the “Coco Crips’s arm” variety) to Delino DeShields, then a single by Ian Desmond to drive them both in and put the Rangers up 3-2. On the bright side, Manaea immediately followed up by picking off Desmond, his third pickoff of the season. It’s been a strange turn considering all of the concerns early in the season about Manaea’s defensive abilities.
Healy made an error in the 6th by dropping the ball on a transfer, but it wasn’t costly. He redeemed himself for the final out of the inning with a nice running play on a chopper hit right up the line.
Semien and Healy kicked off the 7th with back to back singles, and Smolinski put runners on the corners with a groundball that only extreme hustle prevented from becoming a double play. Unfortunately neither Max Muncy nor Coco Crisp could get the job done, and both struck out to end the inning - strikeouts #8 and #9 for Darvish. Mistakes! It capped off an ugly night for Muncy at the plate with a couple of strikeouts.
But Muncy wasn’t through. After Andrus led off Texas’s half of the 7th with a single, Drew Stubbs tried to bunt the ball (after having his own 2K night against Manaea). Stephen Vogt got to the ball with plenty of time to get the out at first, but Muncy was nowhere to be found - he was miles from first base after failing to anticipate that he’d need to cover on the bunt - and Vogt had to hang on to the ball. Mistakes! Manaea exited the game having thrown 6+ innings due to Muncy’s miscue. It was another decent outing - he threw over 100 pitches, gave up 0 walks, and largely shut the Rangers down outside of the 5th inning.
And the horror show continued. Hendriks came in and on the next batter, the Rangers executed a double steal on a 3-0 count and pulled it off easily. Without getting a ball out of the infield, they had runners at second and third due to Oakland’s inability to make fairly routine plays. And for good measure, DeShields walked to load the bases, still with 0 outs, while trying to bunt. Mistakes! Ian Desmond singled to make the score 4-2 Rangers. The A’s turned a 4-2-3 double play but it didn’t matter. They issued another intentional walk to Adrian Beltre after falling behind in the count, then Jonathan Lucroy came through with yet another big hit to put the Rangers up 6-2.
Valencia lead off the 8th with a double and Darvish left the game. It would be another wasted opportunity for Oakland. A ground ball advanced Valencia to third with only one out, but another Davis strikeout and Butler groundout stranded the runner. The A’s were 0-7 with runners in scoring position today to go with their 2-16 yesterday. Mistakes!
Not much happened the rest of the game. The A’s struck out three times in the 9th to Matt Bush to bring their strikeout total for the day to 13 and otherwise just looked ready to hop on the plane to Chicago. I think we can all use a day off after this series. The A’s next play in Chicago on Friday at 5:10.