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Game #127: A’s Drop Series Finale to Rangers, 4-2

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s dropped the final game of the three game set with the Rangers, 4-2 this afternoon before 13,129 faithful green and gold fans and another 4.8 million(?) facebook viewers.

The A’s nine game homestand concludes with the team winning two of three from the Mariners, Astros and Rangers. Normally, taking six of nine games would be cause for celebration, but in all three series the A’s had the opportunity to sweep after winning the first two games and couldn’t close out the final game on three seperate occasions.

***Today’s Gamethread***

E-Jax Gets Knocked Around
After going through the first two games without allowing a run to the Texas Rangers (18 innings, 0 runs on 5 hits), today’s game started off on the wrong foot for Edwin Jackson and the A’s. Shin-Soo Choo ambushed the first pitch of the game for a solo homer to left-center to make the score 1-0 after one delivery.

After Choo’s lead-off homer (is there anyway we can acquire this guy through waivers this month?!!), E-Jax settled down through the rest of the 1st inning into the 2nd inning before running into trouble again in the third inning. It started with back to back walks to Choo (seriously, please get this guy Forst and Beane) and Roughned “I unbutton the top 7 buttons of my uniform” Odor. Then with two outs in the inning, Adrian Beltre singled home Choo to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead after 3 innings.

In the 4th inning, the Rangers once again struck, this time it was Joey Gallo doing the damage, driving a 1-2 offering from Jackson over the rightfield wall to put the Rangers up 3-0. Beltre stepped up in the fifth inning to drive in the Rangers 4th run, knocking Jackson out of the game in the process and putting the A’s in a 4 run hole.

Yusmeiro Petit relieved Edwin Jackson and immediately got into his own trouble, giving up a double and issuing an intentional walk to load the bases with one out. Then Petit craftily struck out Robinson Chirinos and Ronald Guzman to limit the damage to 4 runs.

Jackson’s Final Line:
4 13 innings, 7 hits allowed, 4 runs, 3 walks

Texas’ New Strategy: I Guess We Shouldn’t Pitch to Khris Davis
Throughout Khris Davis’ Oakland tenure, the Rangers haven’t figured out how to
get him out or keep him in the ballpark..Much has been written about Krush’s offensive numbers vs. Texas, but it bears repeating, coming into today he was hitting .311 (19-for-61) with nine home runs and 24 RBI in 15 games against Texas this season and is a .311 (59-for-190) career hitter against the Rangers with 27 home runs and 62 RBI in 52 games while a member of the A’s. Today, the Rangers finally must have talked amongst themselves and came to the conclusion, “Maybe we shouldn’t pitch to this guy?” In Davis’ first at-bat he walked on five pitches but was erased by a Matt Olson double play. After a flyout in the 5th inning, he was hit by a pitch in the 7th and reached third but failed to score.

The Rest of the A’s Offense
Didn’t muster much against Rangers starter Mike Minor. Minor allowed only two baserunners (a 2nd inning Khris Davis walk and a 3rd inning Chad Pinder single) in his six innings of work.

A’s Bullpen vs. Texas Bullpen
With the A’s Jackson done in the 5th inning and the Rangers Minor out after six innings, the game turned over to the bullpens.

For the A’s Petit, Shawn Kelly, Fernando Rodney and Ryan Buchter limited the Rangers to two hits and no runs over 4 23 innings, providing solid relief.

This allowed the A’s to slowly pull back in the ballgame off of the Rangers bullpen, scoring single runs in the 7th inning (Piscotty doubled to plate Chapman who had walked with two outs) and 8th inning (double by pitch hitter, Jed Lowrie scored Chad Pinder who had singled). After 8 innings of day baseball, the score was 4-2, Texas....

9th Inning - Unfulfilled Hope
In the 9th inning, A’s lefty, Ryan Buchter, set down the Rangers quietly, brining up the heart of the order for the A’s to face Rangers reliever, Jose LeClerc.

Matt Chapman led off the inning with a walk to bring up Khris Davis, perfect man, perfect spot! The Rangers worst nightmare...Chapman moved to third during Davis at-bat on a wild pitch that rollled almost to Livermore, setting the stage for “ Krush”Davis.

Sadly, Davis didn’t come through as a 2-2 check-swing was called a “swinging strike” by first base umpire, Marvin Hudson. Tough call, it seemed bordeline and a checked swing call in baseball is even more undefined then a tackle or catch is in the NFL right now, so it is difficult to argue with Hudson’s judgement call. But it seemed from the TV reply, I mean facebook live reply, that Davis had held his swing.

With out out and Chapman on 3rd, Stephen Piscotty stepped up. Piscotty doubled in the 7th inning for the A’s first run and was looking to deliver again. Piscotty quickly found himself in a 0-2 hole before popping out to shallow rightfield, leaving Chapman at 3rd base with two outs.

Matt Olson then came up and battled through seven pitches before drawing a walk.
Chad Pinder now stood at home plate as the winning run and LeClerc hit him to load the bases with two outs.

Nick Martini became the sixth batter of the inning and the Colisuem crowd came to life. Could we be witnessing another epic comeback? Today the answer was no, as Leclerc pitched out of the jam, striking Martini out on a nasty 1-2 breaking ball to end the threat, inning and game.

Scoreboard Watching
The Mariners and Astros played the rubber game of their three game set this afternoon with Houston holding on to win 10-7. This drops the A’s to a game behind the division lead and yet maintains the A’s 4.5 games lead over Seattle for the 2nd Wildcard spot.

A’s Hit The Road
The team flies out tonight, headed for Minnesota, where they will play a four game set at Target field over the weekend against the Twins (60-65). Trevor Cahill takes the mound for the A’s tomorrow night at 5:10pm (PST).

This is the percentage that six out of nine translates to. Not a bad homestand. In August. Against their two competitors in the West and a team in the Rangers that came into this series on fire with their bats. Here is hoping for 100% or 4 out of 4 against the Twins in Minnesota this weekend.

And here is something to hope for from MLB A’s Beat Writer Jane Lee: