OAKLAND — Scott Kazmir allowed a two-run homer to Jake Smolinski, and shortstop Jed Lowrie made an error that led to a pair of unearned runs as the Oakland Athletics lost 6-3 to the last-place Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
After strengthening their AL wild-card lead by beating Seattle in the final two games of a weekend series, the A's looked sloppy in the opener of a nine-game homestand and failed in their attempt to win three straight for the first time since Aug. 7-9.
Oakland made two errors, threw two wild pitches and got another rough outing from Kazmir (14-9) to lose for the 15th time in 22 games. The A's remained one game ahead of Kansas City for the top wild-card spot. Seattle entered the day two games behind the Royals for the second berth.
Nick Tepesch (5-10) allowed three runs in six innings to beat the A's for the first time in six career appearances.
Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Smolinski provided the big offensive blow when he hit his first career home run in his first game against live pitching since breaking a bone in his left foot while fouling off a pitch July 21.
The Rangers added another run in the fourth when Rougned Odor reached on a grounder to Lowrie and scored from first on Daniel Robertson's single to right. Josh Reddick threw Robertson out at second, but Odor never stopped running on the play and scored.
After the A's scored twice in the bottom half, the Rangers broke it open with three runs in the fifth after Lowrie's miscue. Lowrie threw high to first on Ryan Rua's grounder for a two-base error that allowed Adrian Beltre to score. Robinson Chirinos and Odor added RBI singles to make it 6-2.
Kazmir allowed six runs â€” four earned â€” in 4 1-3 innings and is 0-4 with an 8.22 ERA over his past five starts.
Rangers: OF Michael Choice will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a strained left hamstring and GM Jon Daniels said it was unlikely Choice will play winter ball as originally planned. … OF Shin-Soo Choo, already out for the season with an elbow injury, will have surgery on his left ankle that shouldn't impact his availability for next season.
Athletics: OF Craig Gentry remained sidelined by a concussion.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (1-0) will make his fourth start of the season. The Rangers said he is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to pitch at least seven innings, allow one or fewer runs and no walks in his first three starts of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Athletics: RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-12) will face the Rangers for the first time in his career.