After a wild two nights in Texas, there would be no dramatic comeback for the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night. The A’s, in fact, were the ones trying to protect a lead, and protect it they did, if only by the slimmest of margins, beating the Rangers 7-6 to complete a four-game sweep in Arlington.
The victory marks the third four-game road sweep of the season for the A’s, something the franchise hasn’t done since 1928, and it leaves them just one game behind Seattle for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Oakland (61-43) would never relinquish the lead after putting up three runs in the top of the fourth inning, but the Rangers would close within a run multiple times. Trevor Cahill labored through five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks.
Both teams scored two in the first, with the two Oakland runs coming on a pair of errors. After jumping ahead early, the A’s saw Texas come back in each of the first two innings, as Cahill failed to get shut-down frames. A leadoff walk and hit-by-pitch set up the two Ranger runs in the bottom of the first, and Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single knotted up the score in the second.
A Jurickson Profar triple in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 6-5, and the normally-reliable bullpen didn’t relieve any stress.
Oakland reliever Emilio Pagan threw three strikeouts in the sixth, working around a two-out Choo double. Lou Trivino issued a pair of two-out walks in the seventh but struck out Robinson Chirinos to end the frame.
In the eighth, Matt Chapman tripled for the second time on the night as Texas (42-62) center fielder Carlos Tocci dove and missed his line drive. Chapman would score on Jonathan Lucroy’s sac fly, and that insurance run was needed right away. Jeurys Familia allowed his first run as an Athletic, as a Matt Olson error and wild pitch led to Ronald Guzman crossing the plate. With the tying run on second, Elvis Andrus grounded out to end the inning.
Blake Treinen got the save for a third consecutive night, though it wasn’t easy. Adrian Beltre led off with a single and pinch-runner Isiah Kiner-Falefa moved to second on a wild pitch, but Treinen struck out Profar and got Joey Gallo to pop out to left. A leaping catch by Jed Lowrie on a soft liner by Chrinos ended the game.
In addition to his two triples, Chapman hit a solo homer in the third inning off Bartolo Colon, who allowed six runs on nine hits over seven innings, working deep into the game to rest a taxed bullpen. The A’s had four triples on the night, with Dustin Fowler and Nick Martini hitting triples in consecutive at-bats as part of the three-run fourth. The four triples marked an Oakland record and tied the franchise mark.