Oakland secured their 30th win of 2022 tonight, beating the Texas Rangers 14-7 in shootout of a ballgame.
The A’s got a solid pitching performance from their starter and a great showing from a few of their bullpen arms. A huge Texas error helped the Oakland offense take the lead but they still racked up 13 hits and six walks on their way to 14 runs. The Rangers came back late to send this game to extras and repeatedly retied this game but Oakland pulled out the W and have a chance at a series win tomorrow.
It wasn’t a good start for James Kaprielian and the A’s. After allowing a leadoff double in the bottom of the first, former Athletic Marcus Semien came up next and blasted a home run to center field, giving the Rangers a quick 2-0 lead just two batters in against Kap.
After his 2-run HR tonight, Marcus Semien is slashing .295/.389/.590 with 5 HR, 2 SB and 16 RBIs in 16 games against the A’s since they let him leave after the 2020 season.
Unlike yesterday, the bats didn’t wait around tonight. Oakland got a one-out single the very next inning from Elvis Andrus, he advanced to second on a groundout, and Tony Kemp pulled a single to right to bring Andrus home and cut the Texas lead in half. Kemp now has two hits in as many days after entering the series riding an 0-for-21 streak at the plate.
Both pitchers settled in a bit for the next couple innings. Catcher Sean Murphy was stranded on second after hitting a two-out double in the third, and Kaprielian allowed a single and nothing else while getting a trio of K’s.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, outfielder Adolis Garcia worked a five-pitch walk against Kap and stole second base on the very next pitch. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Leody Taveras doubled to right to bring in Garcia for the Rangers’ third run of the game.
And for the second time today, the A’s didn’t allow Texas to have a shutdown inning. A leadoff walk and a pair of singles loaded the bases with no outs for Oakland in the fifth with Ramon Laureano striding up to the plate. A groundball to short looked like it might result in a double play but Laureano hustled and beat the throw to first, ensuring at least one run during this rally and making it 3-2 Texas.
The A’s got a little unintentional help from Texas starter Glenn Otto to keep the good times going. A Laureano steal put runners at second and third for Murphy, who chopped a ball right back to Otto on what should have been an easy out at first. Instead, he tried to get the runner at the plate but sailed the ball way over his catcher. So far over, in fact, that the second runner had enough time to come around and score standing up:
A's take the lead on a throwing error pic.twitter.com/4uT0AU0HqA— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 13, 2022
Thanks to that mental error, Oakland had the lead. Kaprielian sat down the Rangers in the bottom half of the inning, ending on a high note by retiring his final five hitters.
- James Kaprielian: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 70 pitches
Another solid start from Kap tonight against a hot Rangers lineup. The quick hook was surprising considering his low pitch count and seemed to be finding his groove, only allowing a pair of hits and a walk after the two in the first. If this was his final start of the first half, he should feel good about where he’s currently at heading into the break. The changes he’s made lately are working.
The first couple bullpen arms were solid after Kaprielian tonight. Manager Mark Kotsay brought in lefty Sam Moll to replace Kap and he had a perfect 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.
Then it was A.J. Puk’s turn and he had perhaps his best performance of the season, throwing 2 perfect innings with three strikeouts while throwing only 21 pitches.
Oakland snagged themselves a critical insurance run in the eighth. Another double from Murphy, his second of the game and third hit tonight, lead off the inning and a single from Seth Brown put runners at the corners. Kotsay turned to the bench, bringing in Stephen Vogt to pinch-hit for Sheldon Neuse. The rookie manager pressed the right button here as Vogt provided a very productive at-bat, grounding out to bring in Murphy and allow Brown to go to second. That was all from the rally but it provided the A’s with a huge insurance run that would come in handy in just a few minutes.
Closer Lou Trivino came in for the bottom of the ninth and immediately surrendered a home run to leadoff man Corey Seager, his fifth in five games. Trivino came back to get a couple outs and came within a strike of ending this game, but then the dam broke. A double put the tying run in scoring position and Kole Calhoun took an 0-2 pitch and sent it into right field. Laureano made a good throw and almost gunned the runner at the plate but was just late. This game was suddenly tied and heading to extra innings.
For the third time tonight, the A’s scored the next inning after Texas scored. With Vimael Machin starting the top of the 10th at second base, Murphy collected his fourth hit of the night, an RBI single to bring in Machin and retake the lead.
Murph knocks in the go-ahead run pic.twitter.com/EIN2tBAS88— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 13, 2022
With the lead back in the hands of the A’s, it was Zach Jackson’s turn for the save with a runner starting the inning on second. He got a couple strikeouts and again, the A’s were within one out of a win. But Semien burned his former team again, lining an RBI double into the left field corner to retie this game at 6.
Neither team couldn’t manage to bring in their ghost runner in the 11th. Texas had their man at third with one out but Kirby Snead struck out a pair of Rangers to strand him there.
The A’s grabbed the lead back in the top of the 12th thanks to a wild pitch and a Machin sac fly, and Laureano gave Oakland some breathing room with an RBI single:
They added on a lot more to make sure that the Rangers wouldn’t mount yet another comeback. Rookie Dermis Garica collected his first MLB hit, an RBI double to extend the lead to three:
First big league hit for Dermis Garcia is a clutch one pic.twitter.com/KWTjMJStdm— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 13, 2022
A bases-loaded walk to Andrus brought in Oakland’s 10th run, and then Chad Pinder launched his third career grand slam to put the nail in the Rangers’ coffin:
They ultimately scored eight times in the top of the 12th. The last time they scored 8 runs in an extra inning? 1998!
Austin Pruitt finished this marathon of a game off in style, striking out Garcia for the final out.
So the longest game of the year ends in an A’s win, and they definitely had to work for it. Kaprielian was solid for five innings and the bats did enough to bail out the bullpen a couple of times and then broke out the big hits late. All is well.
Oakland will march out the new All-Star Paul Blackburn for his final start of the first half in the series finale tomorrow. He’ll be opposed by offseason addition Jon Gray, who has found his groove after a tough start to his Rangers career. Same time and place!