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A’s bullpen implodes in 11-3 loss to Rangers

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

An eight-run eighth inning helped send the Oakland Athletics to an 11-3 loss to the Texas Rangers Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.

JP Sears’ afternoon got off to a rough start as he hit Marcus Semien to start the game. Robbie Grossman followed with a two-run home run off the foul pole in left to stake the Rangers to an early lead.

The A’s got a run back in the second as Ramon Laureano doubled off the glove of third baseman Josh Jung and then moved to third on a wild pitch. Shea Langeliers reached on an infield single that Ezequiel Duran made a diving stop on. Laureano scored on the play to cut Texas’ lead to 2-1.

The Rangers got that run back in the third as an error by Jesus Aguilar at first allowed Semien to reach with one out. Sears struck out Grossman, but then walked Nathaniel Lowe to put runners at first and second. Adolis Garcia then made it 3-1 with a single to left that scored Semien.

Andrew Heaney retired seven in a row before Aledmys Diaz led off the fifth with a single. Langeliers worked a walk to move Diaz into scoring position. Nick Allen then attempted to move up both runners up with a sacrifice bunt, but laid it down perfectly and reached on an infield single to load the bases. The A’s would then get the worst possible outcome as Esteury Ruiz would bounce back to Heaney who made a barehanded grab and threw home for the force. Jonah Heim’s throw to first was in time to complete the double play. Jordan Diaz grounded to second to bring the inning to a disappointing end.

Sears came out to start the sixth, but Josh Jung reached on a grounder that Nick Allen was unable to handle at short. Heim then followed with a liner off the glove of Jordan Diaz at second, but he recovered and threw to second in time to force Jung. Sears then allowed a soft single to center by Ezequiel Duran to put runners at first and second.

Mark Kotsay then went to his bullpen and summoned right-hander Garrett Acton, who was added to the roster prior to Sunday’s game. Acton got pinch-hitter Brad Miller to pop out to second and then struck out Leody Taveras to end the inning.

It was a solid outing for Sears who allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked just one while throwing 101 pitches.

Acton worked a perfect seventh and the A’s offense got going again against reliever Jonathan Hernandez. Laureano got things started with a single to left. After Aledmys Diaz flew out, Langeliers came through again with a two-run home run to left center to tie the game.

Austin Pruitt took over on the mound for the A’s in the eighth and served up a leadoff double to Garcia. Pruitt retired Jung on a ground out, but then allowed a single to Heim that scored Garcia to put the Rangers back in front 4-3. Ruiz misplayed the ball in center for an error and Heim ended up on third base. That would bring out Kotsay again who summoned lefty Sam Moll from the bullpen. While the change was happening, Kotsay was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing a missed strike call that occurred during Heim’s at-bat.

Things further unraveled from there as Moll and the A’s elected to intentionally walk Duran. Moll then hit pinch-hitter Bubba Thompson to load the bases. Tavares then sent a grounder to Diaz at second who tossed to second for the second out, but Allen’s relay throw to first was late. Heim scored on the play to extend the lead to 5-3. Moll didn’t find any relief from there as Semien and Grossman plated two more runs with run-scoring singles to extend the lead to 7-3. Lowe then reached on an infield single to third to load the bases again. Things then went from bad to worse for Oakland. Moll was replaced by Zach Neal who served up a grand slam to Garcia to make it 11-3.

The A’s fall to 9-32 for the season and drop three of four in the series. They will continue their homestand Monday when the Arizona Diamondbacks arrive for a three-game series.