A mix of poor baserunning, shaky outfield defense and rotten luck combined to hand the Oakland Athletics a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers, their second loss in their last 10 games, and drop their chance at a series sweep.
A hit into shallow left-center with two outs in the fifth by Jurickson Profar turned into a double as Mark Canha and Matt Joyce struggled to field the ball. That double sparked a two-run rally to give Texas (9-17) a 3-2 lead, the first time the Rangers led in the series. Nomar Mazara singled to tie the game, and after a Joey Gallo walk, Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s blooper gave the hosts the advantage.
The A’s had a serious threat in the top of the eighth when Marcus Semien reached second to start the inning on a throwing error by Kiner-Falefa, but Semien was gunned down by Delino DeShields when he tried to advance to third on Jed Lowrie’s flyout.
Oakland (13-12) struck first on Khris Davis’ two-run opposite-field homer in the top of the third. Rangers starter Doug Fister threw 105 pitches and was lifted with two outs in the fifth, but the A’s could never break through against the bullpen. Jesse Chavez, who got the final out of the fifth and pitched the sixth, got the win against his former team, and Alex Claudio took care of the seventh on just five pitches. Matt Joyce remained in the game despite facing the lefty, and he grounded out to end the frame.
Outfield defense didn’t help the A’s in the eighth either. After Gallo singled off Emilio Pagan for his third hit of the night, Ronald Guzman tripled into the right field corner on a ball that Stephen Piscotty failed to cut off, scoring a key insurance run.
Pagan pitched 1 2/3 innings after Ryan Buchter left the game with shoulder stiffness. Pagan did strike out three, but the run he allowed left him with an ERA of 5.68.
Kendall Graveman took the loss, allowing three runs over six innings. The first run came in the fourth when Juan Centeno beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play. Graveman struck out a season-high seven while walking four. He tied his career-high with 112 pitches, finishing off the night by retiring the side in order in the sixth, including a pair of strikeouts.