The Oakland A’s scored a season-high nine runs en route to a 9-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. The two teams are now tied in their season series at three apiece, with the A’s winning this most recent three-game set at home.
The story of the day was the offense. Oakland clubbed three homers, and each starter notched at least one hit. They knocked out Rangers starter Martin Perez in the 4th, but reliever Mike Hauschild only managed to throw gas on the fire by allowing dingers to Khris Davis, Chad Pinder, and Yonder Alonso.
Meanwhile, Jesse Hahn turned in his second straight quality start. By the time the bullpen came in, the game was more or less out of reach, but they kept the lights switched off just to be on the safe side.
The A’s wasted no time getting warmed up, needing only five batters to score their first run of the game — with two on and two out, Ryon Healy laced an RBI single up the middle (video). And they didn’t stop there, as subsequent doubles by Josh Phegley (video) and Yonder Alonso (video) increased the early lead to 4-0.
Perez settled down after that and kept the A’s quiet for a couple innings, but the damage had already been done to both the score and his pitch count. The Rangers never got back into the game after that big 1st frame, and their bullpen didn’t help matters.
After Perez was pulled in the 4th, the A’s had their way with Hauschild. In the 5th inning, Khrush Davis came out to play:
In the 6th, Chad Pinder drilled his first homer of the year:
...followed by Chad Pinder in the sixth inning... pic.twitter.com/HETaFoc5zF— Oakland A's ⚾️ (@Athletics) April 19, 2017
And in the 7th, Alonso got in on the action with his second big hit of the day:
When the dust had settled, the A’s had set season highs in runs (9), hits (14), and dingers (3, tied with Opening Day). Everyone had at least one hit, five guys had two hits, and Khris reached base three times. It was a complete team effort, from the veteran stopgaps to the rookies.
Oakland was just as good on the other side of the ball. Hahn was not as sharp as he had been in his debut start last week, issuing four walks as the day went on, but the Rangers had no answer for him when it came to actually swinging the bat.
It took Texas until the 3rd inning to even reach base against Hahn, and they didn’t find their way as far as third base until Joey Gallo’s solo homer in the 5th. Otherwise they didn’t come particularly close to scoring, as the only other hit they managed off the starter was a groundball single by Mike Napoli — followed quickly by a pair of swinging strikeouts on 94-95 mph heaters to leave him stranded. Hahn’s final line: 6 ip, 1 run, 4 Ks, 4 BB, 2 hits, 92 pitches.
The bullpen didn’t add any drama to this one. Ryan Madson, Daniel Coulombe, and Liam Hendriks breezed through the final three innings, facing only one batter over the minimum (another groundball single).
Seeing Hahn cruise again, even without his best command, is a sight for sore eyes. The A’s rotation should hopefully be healthy again in a couple weeks, but in the meantime it’s good to see some of their backend options step up.
Even more encouraging than the strong pitching, though, was the defense. The A’s were nursing a streak of 11 straight games with an error, but that came to an end on Wednesday as they put up a clean sheet.
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Just a couple days ago, it felt like the A’s season was already slipping away. They were booting the ball all over the place, blowing leads, and adding to their DL daily. And yet, they’re currently in second place in the AL West at 7-8, and they can get back to .500 with a win tomorrow. All of that doesn’t change the fact that this year is more about rebuilding than contending, but it’s nice to know that anything is still possible.
The A’s return Thursday evening to kick off a four-game series against the Mariners. The opener will feature Cesar Valdez for the A’s, making his first MLB appearance since 2010. Seattle will send out James Paxton, the only starter in the bigs who’s still tied with Andrew Triggs’ 0.00 ERA.