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Game #74: A’s ambushed in 8-3 loss to Rangers

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Oakland never came back from five-run 1st inning

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers
First career homer for Andy Ibañez
Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Talk about a case of the Mondays.

The Oakland A’s fell behind early and never recovered in an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, opening their four-game series in Arlington with a whimper.

*** Click here to revisit tonight’s Game Thread! ***

This contest was over almost as quickly as it began. Starter Frankie Montas got ambushed for five runs in the 1st inning, and the A’s lineup never got much of a comeback going. They chipped away a little bit, but Texas added some insurance in the 6th to put it out of reach for good.

The opening rally began with a single that maybe should have been ruled an error on fill-in third baseman Chad Pinder, but there wasn’t any question about the hits that came next. First was a double to deep center that would have cleared the Coliseum fence, then a double down the LF line, and then a three-run homer by Andy Ibañez, the first of the 28-year-old rookie’s MLB career.

From there Montas settled down for a while, retiring 13 of 15 batters to take him through the end of the 5th inning. But in the 6th it unraveled again, even with some help from the ump on a blown call that gave Oakland a free out — the Rangers batter clearly hit it off his foot but it was ruled a 10-foot fair ball for a groundout. Unfortunately, Ball Don’t Lie, and the next three at-bats went single, HBP, three-run homer, with the dinger coming courtesy of the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, catcher Jose Trevino.

  • Montas: 5⅔ ip, 8 runs, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HR, 9 hits, 87 pitches, 89.9 mph EV

Four of his innings were really good! The other two were disasters. He attributed a reduced spin rate to sweat and the Texas humidity.

A few lone runs

Oakland’s lineup wasn’t completely quiet in the Lone Star State. In the 5th they got a solo homer from Sean Murphy.

In the 6th they added another, with back-to-back doubles by Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano.

But in the bottom of the 6th, Trevino sunk his three-run dagger to push the lead to 8-2, and the rest turned out to be a formality. Still, the A’s did scratch out one more in the 7th, as Tony Kemp continued his magical breakout season.

Kemp batted leadoff tonight, and he rewarded that decision by reaching base three times. He singled to start the 7th, then moved to second on a Mark Canha single, then attempted to steal third base. The catcher Trevino threw wide and the ball skipped into left field, allowing Kemp to score an unearned and yet well-earned free run.

Murphy and the A’s at least did a better job controlling the running game, for what it’s worth.

Oakland had one more positive story line, as reliever Domingo Acevedo made his MLB debut. The 27-year-old right-hander was called up from Triple-A today, and his scoreless inning went soft groundout, infield single, popout, strikeout. He worked around 93-95 mph with his fastball, and got his strikeout swinging on a changeup.

Bonus: Elvis Andrus made his return to Texas, where he played the first dozen seasons of his career.

And finally, today began MLB’s enhanced crackdown regarding foreign substances on baseballs, so umpires began checking pitchers after some innings.

As ho-hum losses go, that’s a reasonable amount of interesting stuff for one night.

Three more tries

That’s a bummer of a way to start a series, especially since the last-place Rangers entered riding a six-game losing streak. But the A’s have three more tries in Arlington, so go get ‘em tomorrow.