A’s and Cotton sweep past Rangers, win 7th in a row

Jharel Cotton, seen here in May, delivered five scoreless innings on Sunday. (Jacob C. Palmer/S.F. Examiner)

OAKLAND — Thanks to a five-run fifth inning and a sharp outing from Jharel Cotton, the Oakland A’s bulldozed past the Texas Rangers 8-1 on Sunday afternoon, completing the weekend sweep and pushing their winning streak to seven games.

The stretch of wins marks the club’s longest such spell since April of 2013. The win also marked the second in a row for Cotton, who fooled the guests throughout the matinee, at one point delivering seven consecutive changeups.

“When you have a changeup with at least a 15-mph gap to it, he can make you look pretty silly with the changeup,” manager Bob Melvin said. “So, he had it all working today.”

The rookie right-hander produced five innings of one-hit ball, striking out six Rangers without walking any — just the second time he’s managed that feat in 24 starts.

“When he’s ahead in the count, he can be a tough guy to deal with,” Melvin said. “He’s had some of the most impressive games we’ve seen here in the last couple of years. So he definitely has the ability. He just needs to string it together.

Melvin said Cotton exited after just five innings due to a bit of elbow tightness, but starter downplayed the issue.

“Just precautionary stuff,” Cotton said.

Cotton got all the support he’d need in the fifth when Matt Chapman opened the scoring with the first of his two run-scoring doubles. Khris Davis capped the onslaught, blasting his 41st home run — a 441-foot drive — beyond the center-field wall.

“Oh, that was pretty cool, man,” Cotton said of the five-run barrage. “That was like, wow. KD hitting that ball up close to the window — that was pretty cool to watch.”

The Rangers grabbed their only run in the seventh courtesy of a Nomar Mazara homer. The drive put an end to a stretch of 21 consecutive scoreless innings for the pitching staff.

Olson leaves early

Matt Olson exited in the seventh with a minor hamstring issue after stretching to complete a double play an inning earlier.

Maxwell: ‘If it ends up driving me out of baseball, then so be it’

After Bruce Maxwell kneeled for the anthem for the second time in as many days, the big league trendsetter said he doesn’t fear getting Kaepernick’d out of MLB.

“I’ve talked to our superiors and they understand why I’m doing it and they respect the fact that I am doing it,” Maxwell said. “If it ends up driving me out of baseball, then so be it.”

Canha opens up on protest

Mark Canha, who placed his arm on Maxwell’s shoulder on both days, explained that it was his fear of potential ramifications that ultimately inspired him to take part.

 

“Just the fact that I had the small amount of fear and that small amount of hesitation, speaks volumes that we need some change,” Canha said. “People shouldn’t be afraid to lose their jobs for speaking their mind — for peacefully speaking their mind about social issue.”

“The fact that I hesitated just to [do] the smallest gesture of putting my hand on Bruce’s shoulder says that we’re not where we need to be when it comes to that.”

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