Monday night’s game in Arlington between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers was a story of offensive outburst followed by an inability to hold any kind of lead. The A’s lost that game 8-7. Tonight the A’s did much of the same thing, they had one burst of offense, but immediately handed the lead back to the Rangers who never looked back.
For a June series, this was a pretty big one considering the position the Athletics are in atop the AL West, and now they’ll have to hope to escape Texas with the same 3 game lead they arrived with by splitting the 4 game set. All things considered, going to Texas and escaping with a split can’t be taken as a negative as it is always a difficult place to play.
Tommy Milone was strong in a routine first inning, but stumbled in the second inning by surrendering a 2-run home run to Lance Berkman. The A’s would be unable to respond in the next couple innings while Milone worked to regain his bearings. The top of the 5th inning would see the A’s briefly grab a lead when two walks and a 3-run home run off the bat of Chris Young put them ahead 3-2.
Milone would not be able to provide the A’s with the critical shutdown inning though in the bottom of the 5th. Two singles followed by an Ian Kinsler sac fly tied the game, and with runners at the corners Leonys Martin would score when Josh Donaldson had a brief moment of indecision before attempting to throw him out at home on a Nelson Cruz grounder. That hesitation gave Martin the opening to score and give the Rangers a lead they would never relinquish.
Milone would work into the 6th inning, but that was when the wheels truly did fall off and the Rangers put the game out of reach. After allowing singles to Robinson Chirinos and David Murphy Milone was lifted for Dan Otero, but things didn’t get any better. Otero gave up RBI singles to Leonys Martin, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz and an RBI double to Adrian Beltre. Milone would finish with a line of 5.1 innings, 8 hits, 6 ER, 1 BB, and 1 strikeout. Otero was charged with 2 ER in 0.1 innings on 4 hits. Jesse Chavez would allow the final run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the 7th inning.
Derek Norris would have to leave the game after… well, taking a foul tip to the nether region. I think any male reading this can sympathize with Norris, hopefully he’s alright.
Chris Young was the offensive standout today with the 3-run homer, he was 2 for 5. Josh Donaldson added a garbage time RBI single for the A’s 4th run in the 8th in his 1 for 3 night. Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith, and Eric Sogard each added a hit as well.
The series finale, and final game for the A’s in Arlington until August takes place tomorrow at 11:05 AM PST. A.J. Griffin (5-6, 3.93 ERA) takes on Josh Lindblom (0-2, 5.94 ERA). The A’s scored 4 runs against Lindblom back in May as the A’s defeated the Rangers the last time they ventured to Arlington, they will likely need another good offensive day to emerge with the split as the Rangers offense appears to be waking up after their recent slumber.