Nothing is ever certain in Arlington, Texas, as leads quickly evaporate on hot summer nights at Globe Life Park. The Oakland A’s rarely play straightforward contests when visiting the Texas Rangers, and with few quality arms in their last-place divisional foe’s bullpen, there was perhaps an increased chance for mayhem Tuesday night if they fell behind.
Still, it was remarkable when, after trailing 10-2 in the sixth, right fielder Stephen Piscotty punctuated a frenzied Oakland surge with a game-tying home run to open up the ninth and designated hitter Khris Davis blasted a go-ahead three-run bomb in the 10th. Even by the lofty standards of Arlington, Tuesday’s 13-10 A’s victory was just nuts.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers were 471-0 when leading by at least eight runs in the seventh inning or later in franchise history, and 429-0 since moving to Texas.
The A’s (59-43) have now won 25 of their past 32 games. With the San Francisco Giants’ win over the Seattle Mariners, the A’s are now 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot. There’s no team hotter in baseball.
To set up Piscotty and Davis’ meaningful long balls, Oakland chipped away with three runs in the seventh inning via a two-run double from shortstop Marcus Semien and an RBI knock from left fielder Nick Martini. The A’s then drew three straight walks against Rangers reliever Jake Diekman in the eighth, loading the bases with one out. Semien hit what appeared to be an easy double play ball right at Elvis Andrus, but Andrus muffed it, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. Second baseman Jed Lowrie’s ensuing two-run single up the middle cut Oakland’s deficit to one.
The ending made up for an inauspicious start.
An errant throw from Piscotty helped Texas jump ahead, 2-0, in the first inning. After Oakland battled back to tie the game with home runs from center fielder Mark Canha and Lowrie (his career-high 17th), starter Frankie Montas surrendered two runs in the bottom of the inning to give Texas the lead. Montas finished with four runs allowed (three earned) in five innings despite averaging 96.6 mph on his four-seam fastball and 96.1 mph on his two-seam fastball, velocities that, according to Statcast, were up significantly from his previous starts.
Texas did its best to put the game away with a six-run sixth inning that included a solo home run to deep right field by right fielder Joey Gallo and a grand slam by Andrus.
Oakland’s biggest comeback this season, however, extended its winning streak to four. The A’s came in with one of the best road offenses in baseball and a knack for late-inning heroics. But this, it seemed, was a performance above the rest.