Oakland, CA – After further review, it was ruled a home run. Coco Crisp will tell you that home runs mean nothing to him, however he’s hit three home runs in three straight games.
In fact, Crisp’s two-run homer was the play that led to the A’s a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers in game one of a three-game series. Oakland has homered in a season-high 15 consecutive contests and they’re averaging more than five home runs over the last 25 games.
“I got lucky,” Coco said. “It stayed fair and he pitched to me well. I didn’t think it was going to stay fair, usually the balls heading down the line going into foul territory. I’m glad mine stayed fair.”
Yoenis Cespedes also went deep in the second inning to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Alberto Callaspo followed with a double to set up Chris Young’s RBI single up the middle for the 2-0. The Rangers tied the game in the fifth on David Murphy’s two-run homer.
“It was just a terrible performance… flat out,” said Derek Holland. “Five walks is not acceptable. There’s no reason for that, I didn’t execute my pitches. I fell behind and walked people. You can’t defend walks. It was all-around terrible. Today was on me.”
Michael Choice made his first MLB debut and got on base due to Adrian Beltre’s throwing error from third base to first base. That set up Crisp’s home run off Holland that was under review for hitting off the bottom of the left-field foul pole. It took only seconds before chief umpire Tom Hallion confirmed it was a home run.
That was the end of Holland’s time on the mound before Texas bullpen took over. The Rangers had nine baserunners on in four innings but failed to bring any home. They left 11 on and had a runner at third base twice with one out and failed to score.
“Both teams are fairly evenly matched,” Lance Berkman said. I don’t think either team is going to run away with it in the last 25 games. It’s going to go down to the wire and today they just beat us.”
“There’ plenty of baseball to go,” said closer Grant Balfour. “Today’s one game. It was big, no doubt but there are still 20-something games to go. So we’re not sitting here celebrating.”
Balfour who has struggled with his velocity and has been getting behind on his pitches has given fans heart attacks in the ninth. Despite recording his 36th save, he’s allowed two on with a walk and a single before getting his first out.
The next two batters, Ian Kinsler lined out to right-fielder Young and Adrian Beltre grounded to third base to end the game and secure the A’s victory. Grant admitted he was without his best stuff today, which has been a big concern lately.
“He’s had a nice run where there were quite a few easy runs,” Oakland’s manager Bob melvin said. “I think all closers except Mariano Rivera at times, do get themselves out of jams. He’s not the first guy that’s done that, I know he’s going through a period where he doesn’t have his best stuff but he’s only blown two saves this year and until that changes he’s our closer.”
With the win today, the A’s are now tied for first place in the American League West division. The Rangers have been strong competition for Oakland and both teams will meet again later this month in Texas for another three-game series. The A’s continue to take it game-by-game only focusing on winning.