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Game #75: A’s ride early lead to 13-6 win over Rangers

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Don’t play with your food or it might bite back

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

In Monday’s series opener, the Texas Rangers scored five runs in the 1st inning and never looked back. On Tuesday, the Oakland A’s returned the favor.

The A’s scored four runs in the 1st and nine by the end of the 3rd, en route to a 13-6 victory to even their series in Arlington. Oakland let things get interesting in the late innings, but then rallied for insurance in the 9th to put the game away.

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

After getting blitzed in the bottom of the 1st last night, the A’s didn’t wait around for it to happen again. They struck early in the top of the frame, needing only 10 pitches to draw a leadoff walk and then blast a two-run homer. The dinger by Matt Chapman traveled 422 feet.

Oakland proceeded to load the bases again, and longtime former Ranger Elvis Andrus tormented his old teammates with a sharp single up the middle to plate two more. Before Texas even came to bat, they trailed 4-0.

But the A’s weren’t done. Mark Canha led off the 2nd inning with a triple and scored on a groundout, and then a walk and a Ramon Laureano long ball pushed the score to 7-0.

And then in the 3rd, two more runners reached base and Canha singled them in to make it 9-0.

At this point it might have seemed like the game was over, but that did not quite turn out to be the case.

Too close for comfort

While Oakland’s lineup was piling on the scoreboard, starter Cole Irvin was breezing through the opposition. It took him only 40 pitches to complete the first four innings.

But then the magic swiftly reversed. The first batter of the 5th got clipped on the elbow by a pitch for a free base. The next batter placed the ball with uncanny perfection, down the LF line and then up against a wall that deadened it in foul territory and gave time for the runner to score from first. Two batters later, a bloop down the RF line for another perfectly placed RBI double. Then an RBI single skipped past Canha for some extra bases, and another single plated an unearned run.

  • Irvin: 5 ip, 4 runs (3 earned), 4 Ks, 1 BB, 7 hits, 69 pitches, 87.5 mph EV

The lefty was ruthlessly efficient, pounding the zone and inducing weak contact and missing some bats along the way, but BABIP got to him in the 5th. That’ll happen sometimes, and Irvin was a least slightly better than his final line suggests.

The Rangers kept pressing against the bullpen. Burch Smith pitched a perfect 6th, but Sergio Romo allowed a solo homer in the 7th. That narrowed the lead enough to bring in Jake Diekman for the 8th, and he served up a dinger too. The score was now 9-6, and Lou Trivino had entered for the last out of the 8th.

False alarm

After lying dormant for five innings, the A’s lineup wasn’t about to let the bottom of the 9th get too exciting. Oakland’s rally in the top of the inning included an RBI single by Jed Lowrie, a two-run double by Sean Murphy, and this knock off the bat of rookie Skye Bolt.

Suddenly the lead had ballooned back up to 13-6, safe enough that Trivino didn’t even come back out for the 9th. Game over, for real this time.

Whew! When you take a 9-0 lead and win 13-6, you don’t usually expect that much suspense, or any at all really. But it worked out in the end.

Skid snapped

The A’s only scored nine runs combined in their last three losses, so tonight’s outburst was the perfect remedy. Two homers and 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position are a good way to move on from some frustrating defeats and get back into the win column.