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Game #141: Winning streak! A’s beat Rangers 10-5

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Three wins in a row for Oakland!

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s a winning streak!

The Oakland A’s won their third straight game Friday, a 10-5 victory over the Texas Rangers to open a series at the Coliseum.

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

The A’s are heating up, after a stretch in which they lost 15 of 21 games to put their postseason hopes on the brink. Tonight their offense led the way, dropping double-digits on the inexperienced pitching staff of a rebuilding Rangers club, while Oakland’s bullpen cobbled together more than six innings of excellent work to hold the lead when their own starter was knocked out early.

The lineup got going right away with an enormous rally in the 2nd inning. A walk, a HBP, and a groundball single loaded the bases, and they took full advantage of the opportunity. Sean Murphy singled in a run, and then Elvis Andrus was pegged by a pitch to force home another. Starling Marte followed with a sharp single for an RBI, and with the bases still loaded, Matt Olson capped the outburst with a hit into the RF corner to clear the bags. They racked up six runs in total, and you can watch the whole thing below.

Olson was thrown out at second base upon replay review, so it goes down as a three-run single, only the fourth such hit in Oakland history.

The Rangers quickly battled back, narrowing the margin to 6-4 in the 3rd inning, but the A’s continued scoring to keep the game out of reach.

In the 4th, Andrus led off with a double, and Marte drilled a triple to send him home. Olson followed with a single to score Marte, and it was 8-4.

In the 5th, Tony Kemp sparked some action with a bunt single. Eventually there were runners on second and third with two out, and Josh Harrison delivered a sharp single to drive them both home.

They finished with 16 hits on the night, and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Only two of their hits went for extra-bases and they never left the yard for any homers, but they piled on the runs anyway by stringing together three quality rallies. They’ve struggled with the bases loaded this year, but in the 2nd inning alone they came through four times with the bags packed (three hits and a HBP).

Most of the damage came against Texas starter Glenn Otto, making just his third career MLB appearance, but it’s still encouraging to see the lineup humming like that.

  • Olson: 4-for-5, 4 RBI
  • Marte: 3-for-5, triple, 2 RBI, 2 runs
  • Kemp: 3-for-5, 2 runs
  • Murphy: 2-for-5, RBI, 2 runs
  • Andrus: 2-for-3, HBP, RBI, 2 runs
  • Harrison: 1-for-5, 2 RBI

It was RISP Day in Oakland, even though clutch master Jed Lowrie never got an opportunity with anybody on base. He still chipped in, walking to lead off the 2nd and coming around to score. He was later lifted for pinch-hitter Khris Davis, and at one point Davis came a couple feet away from a grand slam but it hooked barely foul.

Pitching holds on

Even with the scoring onslaught, no lead feels safe for the A’s right now, especially after seeing them blow an eight-run advantage in Toronto last weekend. Tonight the pitching held on, despite an early hiccup.

Starter Paul Blackburn didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning. During the first two frames he kept all his batted balls on the ground, but Texas scratched out a run anyway due to pure hustle. Then they began making louder contact off him in the 3rd, going single, single, double, single to plate three more runs.

  • Blackburn: 2⅔ ip, 4 runs, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits, 65 pitches, 91.0 mph EV

The rotation tossed gems in the previous two games, but this time the bullpen would have to pick up some slack.

First up was long man Deolis Guerra, who got the last out of the 3rd inning and settled things down through the 5th. While he was keeping the Rangers quiet, Oakland was replenishing their lead from two runs up to six.

Next was Lou Trivino in the 6th. He was coming off five straight appearances in which he’d allowed runs, but he tossed his first scoreless frame in three weeks. Yusmeiro Petit breezed through the 7th, and Jake Diekman got through the 8th.

By that point, the relievers had retired 16 of their 18 batters, with just a pair of walks mixed in. The Rangers finally got a couple hits and a run in the 9th off Burch Smith, but he finished things off without further issue.

  • Bullpen: 6⅓ ip, 1 run, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 2 hits

The relievers have struggled lately, blowing seven saves in the last few weeks, but they nailed this one down and did it without needing their top two late-inning arms. The pen effectively tossed a quality start.

Ride the wave!

It ain’t over till it’s over. Suddenly the A’s are just one game out of a postseason spot.