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Game #144: Nice Smelling Athletics Defeat Odorous Rangers

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Kiel Maddox-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers were gifted some sweet, delicious lemonade, and in a team effort lead by Rougned Odor, the Rangers miraculously turned that lemonade back into lemons.

Game Thread #1 / Game Thread #2

To start the game, Trevor Cahill walked the light-hitting, light-slugging Delino DeShields on four pitches. Then he walked Shin-Soo Choo on six pitches, and during the at bat DeShields stole second base. Then Rougned Odor, notorious for his walk-allergic approach to hitting, also somehow managed to walk on four pitches. With the bases loaded and cleanup hitter Nomar Mazara at the dish, Cahill fell behind 2-0.

On the very next pitch, Mazara flew out to left field for a sacrifice fly. On the pitch after that, with Adrian Beltre at the plate, the Rangers attempted a double steal, but Odor broke late towards second base and was caught in no-man’s land, Franklin Barreto eventually tagging him out in a mad dash back to first base. On the pitch after that, Cahill induced a fly ball out to escape the inning, miraculously throwing three strikes and sixteen balls total in the frame. Each of his strikes led to an out.

The second inning wasn’t noteworthy, but the Rangers were due to have the top of the lineup begin the third, and the third was a near repeat of the the first. Cahill once again walked the light-hitting, light-slugging DeShields, who once again stole second base during Choo’s at bat. Choo, once again, walked, bringing Odor up to the plate with two men on. Odor ripped the Rangers’ first hit of the game up the middle for a run scoring single. After Mazara flew out, once again the Rangers had runners on first and second, one out, and Beltre at the plate looking to do damage. This time around, Beltre succeeded, smacking a run scoring single to right field, but once again, Rougned Odor made an out on the basepaths as he unwisely tried to go from first to third on the hit, and the Rangers’ rally was killed.

All the while, the A’s managed only one baserunner for the first three innings, thanks to the efforts of lefty Jeffrey Springs. The Rangers, like the A’s of late, decided to use Springs as an opener for today’s game, but after his early success, the team left him in the game for two innings longer than anticipated. Springs has had experience as a starter before, so he probably could have gone for longer, but instead the team brought in Ariel Jurado to try and pitch the remaining six innings of the game, or at least the majority of it. It did not go well.

Jurado got two quick-ish outs in the fourth, but placed runners on second and third base with Barreto at bat in the process. Barreto showcased some of the growth and maturation he’s gone through this season by getting ahead in the count and then knocking a two RBI single the opposite way to put the A’s on the board. A walk placed runners on first and second, a wild pitch from Jurado moved them forward ninety more feet, and then Nick Martini hit a ground ball to second that should have ended the inning. It did not end the inning because Odor biffed the ground ball and then threw wildly towards first, the ball pegging Martini after he was well passed the bag at first base. The error allowed both baserunners to score and gave the A’s a 4-3 lead.

The A’s, over the remainder of the game, tacked on three more runs in total, the most notable run being Stephen Piscotty’s twenty third home run of the season, a career high for him. Since the A’s impeccable run into playoff contention in mid-June, Piscotty is third in the American League in home runs, trailing just Khris Davis and Alex Bregman.

Trevor Cahill only lasted 2.2 innings, walking six, striking out one, allowing two hits and three runs in total. The A’s bullpen managed to pitch 6.1 innings of two-hit baseball, both hits coming off of Lou Trivino in a one-out relief effort in the seventh inning. So, the non-Trivino relievers, being (in order of appearance) Kelly, Pagan, Petit, Buchter, Familia, and Treinen, pitched six innings and only allowed one baserunner on a walk, with no runs allowed and three strikeouts. The Rangers never had a chance to put a rally together after Cahill stopped gifting them baserunners, and their early, cut short rallies seemed much more egregious as the game progressed.

The A’s win 7-3, and are thirty games over .500 for the first time in five years.