Athletics 9, Rangers 3
The last time the A’s saw Martin Perez he beat them, so tonight the A’s set out to prove he couldn’t do it again. And he couldn’t. They got the rally started immediately as Stephen Drew led off the game with a double, and Yoenis Cespedes would drive a ball into the gap in right center for an RBI triple to start the scoring. Chris Carter followed with an RBI single, and after a Brandon Moss single, Josh Donaldson drove them both in with a single and made it to 3rd on an error by Josh Hamilton (Pretty much the exact same error Brandon Moss made on Hamilton’s single yesterday), Derek Norris capped of the rally with an RBI triple of his own thanks to a bad route by Hamilton in center. It was not a good night for Josh Hamilton, perhaps his eye issues are affecting his fielding. Martin Perez only got the first 2 outs of the inning before being relieved by Roy Oswalt.
Jarrod Parker battled himself as well as the Rangers as he gave 1 run right back after an Ian Kinsler walk and and an RBI double from Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the 1st. But after that he was able to keep the damage to a minimum, retiring the next 3 batters. Parker ran into trouble once again in the 2nd as 2 singles and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out. He managed to limit the scoring to an RBI groundout from Mitch Moreland, and a sacrifice fly from Elvis Andrus. The Rangers wouldn’t score again.
After the 2nd inning Parker got his rhythm going and managed to nurse his way through 6 solid innings. All told he gave up 5 hits, 3 ER, walked 3 and struck out 8 to get his 12th win of the season. Jerry Blevins and Evan Scribner covered the last 3 innings without allowing a hit, they did surrender 3 walks though, but no harm was done. This was a huge performance by the A’s pitching staff and leaves the bulk of the bullpen rested and available for tomorrow’s day game finale.
Stephen Drew had a banner night, going 4-5 with a run and 2 RBI, Derek Norris drove in 3 runs on 3 separate at bats, Brandon Moss went 3-5 with 3 runs scored, and Josh Reddick finally got a hit after going 0-30, he was 2-4 tonight. It was a good night overall for the A’s at the plate, and it was on a night the team set a new AL record with 1333 strikeouts this season, breaking the previous record of 1324 by the 2007 Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. It makes sense that the strikeouts would increase as the home runs have as well, it has worked though and who can argue with success.
The A’s find themselves in a good position with now just 7 games to play, they maintained their 2 game lead over the Angels in the wild card race as they came back to beat the Mariners in the 9th inning in Anaheim, the Baltimore Orioles crushed the Toronto Blue Jays tonight so the A’s remain 1/2 game behind them for the top wild card spot.
The A’s have guaranteed themselves a series split, and will leave Arlington in no worse shape in the AL West race than when they came in. If they can take the series behind Travis Blackley (5-3, 3.48 ERA) they will leave Arlington trailing the Rangers by just 2 games. Blackley struggled badly in his last start against the Yankees in New York, his control was completely nonexistent that day and I don’t expect tomorrow to be as bad. The Rangers will send out 17 game winner Matt Harrison (17-10, 3.17 ERA) to try and salvage the split for the Rangers. Harrison isn’t a dominant thrower, but has had some success against the A’s in his career. If the A’s take the same approach to him they took to Martin Perez tonight, they can put more crooked numbers on the board and really make this race interesting on the final home stretch.