Oakland, CA – The final homestead of the season didn’t get off to a great start. The A’s fell apart, Scott Kazmir lasted only four innings and the defense collapsed. They still remain one-game ahead in the American League Wild Card despite falling 6-3 to the Rangers in game one of the series.
“It’s disappointing more than frustrating ,” said Bob Melvin. “We just didn’t look like we were ready to play tonight for whatever reason defensively. Got beat all the way around unfortunately. I thought we’d come ready to play tonight.”
Jake Smolinski was activated off the disable list on Tuesday and blasted a two-run homer to center field. It was his first Major League home run. He sparked the Rangers offense in the fourth when they took a 3-0 lead. Texas has now won four straight games.
It’s their second longest winning streak of the season. Oakland on the other hand, just came off from winning the best of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. They won back-to-back games for the first time in three weeks yet the Rangers looked better. The A’s flatlined in the fourth giving Texas many opportunities.
“It’s hard to say, sometimes you just come out and things happen,” Brandon Moss said. “There’s never a rhyme or reason why you make errors defensively. Sometimes you just have those games where your defense or offense isn’t there. I don’t have an explanation for it.”
Lowrie’s two errors were costly, Ryan Rua was safe at first on a late throw by the shortstop to kickoff the fourth. Rua reached base and Adrian Beltre scores on his second error in the fifth. That fueled another three-run scoring inning. Kazmir tossed 4 1/3 frames, surrendered nine hits on six runs and threw two wild pitches to cap off a frustrating night.
“It’s tough,” said Kazmir. “I feel like that was a game that just doesn’t happen. Just doesn’t happen in September when you’re in a pennant race. You just don’t play like. To be honest I’ve never seen anything like that before at a Major League level.”
He put two on in the corners and struck out Leonys Martin to end the threat in the second. Kazmir held Texas scoreless despite throwing two wild pitches and a throwing error on catcher Derek Norris. But the A’s rallied back when Adam Dunn hit a double and Nick Tepesch issued a free pass to both Moss and Lowrie.
The bases were loaded in the fourth with one out. Josh Reddick’s sacrifice fly put Oakland on the board. Norris hit a RBI single and an error by the shortstop Elvis Andrus advanced both runners to second and third. The A’s trimmed the lead by one run and Moss added on another run with his solo shot in the sixth.
“You have to put it away the next day and come out with enthusiasm and expectations to win,” Melvin said.
The Rangers were too far ahead with three-runs scored in both the fourth and the fifth for the victory. Tepesch went six innings earning his first win since Aug 6th. He allowed three runs on five hits. The runs support backed a good day of pitching for Texas.
“Another great pitching performance.” Rangers manager Tim Bogar said. “It all revolves around the starting pitcher and they have been good for four days in a row.”
Kazmir was chased off the mound after Robinson Chirinos sacrifice fly extended Texas lead 5-2. The bullpen came in and gave up their last run on Rougned Odor’s RBI single. After that Oakland’s bullpen pitched four scoreless innings. Thanks to the Kansas City Royals losing tonight the A’s still remain one game ahead in the American League Wild Card.