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Game #19: Bad Defense, Bad Bullpen, Unfortunate Loss

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Link to the Game Day Thread

This game was quite the ride.

It started well enough for Oakland. Semien, second in the AL in hits in this young season, grounded a soft single up the middle to get things going for the A’s. With two outs, Khris Davis nearly hit yet another home run, but instead had to settle for a double off of the top of the wall in the right field corner, giving the A’s an early 1-0.

That lead, unfortunately, took no time at all to evaporate into a deficit. Against leadoff batter Delino DeShields, Chapman was playing in and made a sensational diving stop to prevent an assured infield single, but he uncharacteristically bungled the throw to first and allowed DeShields to reach on an error. The next batter, Elvis Andrus, hit a well-struck line drive to center, but Laureano took a poor route to the ball and made a clumsy dive that allowed the ball to scoot by him to the warning track. By the time the ball got back to the infield, Andrus was sliding into third and DeShields had long crossed home plate. Later in the inning, with runners on the corners, Anderson made a lazy throw to first, and before the ball even left his hand Andrus was taking off for home, stealing a run with relative ease.

The broadcast of the top of the second inning showed off a nearby roller coaster, and those watching soon found out that it was going to be a roller coaster type of game. To answer the Rangers bottom of the first, Piscotty smacked a hanging curveball deep into the left field seats to re-tie the game up.

In the next inning, Matt Chapman did the same.

The A’s retook the lead, and the offense was thirsting for more.

After two quick, noncompetitive outs in the fourth inning, Rangers starter Adrian Sampson let things get away from him. Profar walked on four pitches. Laureano drove a hard sinker the opposite way for a single, and then the hits just kept on coming. Phegley singled in a run. Grossman singled in a run. Semien doubled deep into left center field to score Phegley and Grossman. While Chapman grounded out to end the inning, the damage was done and the A’s were up 7-2.

Anderson made it through six innings with just two hits and three runs allowed. The final run he gave up came after the Rangers manufactured a run following a DeShields double in the fifth. He did allow four baserunners via walk or hit-by-pitch, but, for the most part, the contact that he allowed was soft. He recorded his third strikeout on the final batter he faced in the ballgame. Anderson even held his own when fielding comebackers. For his entire outing, he showed why he has the best numbers on the A’s starting staff.

But then Andrus hit a home run off of J.B. Wendelken that just barely cleared the fence and the Rangers got a little bit closer. It was now 7-4 with two innings to go, and presumably all hands on deck in the bullpen.

Soria got the eighth. It was designated his inning after he signed with the team, and so far Melvin has stuck to traditional bullpen roles pretty staunchly. Soria faced five batters and could only retire one. He looked uncomfortable on the mound and his offerings looked flat and lifeless. A single, then a walk, then a single brought the score to 7-5, and then it was Danny Santana pinch hitting a triple to deep center field to tie up the game for the third time.

The triple was the death knell for Soria, who was replaced by Petit. He got the light-hitting Jeff Mathis to pop out and, for a moment, it looked like the A’s were going into the top of the ninth tied. However, the A’s couldn’t even get to that point, because the light-hitting DeShields, who had been pestering the A’s on base all day, dropped down a perfect safety squeeze bunt that regained the lead for Texas.

Jose Leclerc struck out the side in the ninth inning, and the wild ride of the game was over, with its passengers feeling a little green.

A’s are 10-9, and get another needed day off on Monday before facing the Astros at home on Tuesday and Wednesday.