Oakland, CA – After tossing eight scoreless innings, Jeff Samardzija sat in the dugout stunned. He watched his hard work erased by one disastrous inning. Closer Sean Doolittle allowed five runs in the ninth and the Rangers crushed the A’s 6-1 in what appeared to be a complete nightmare.
< p>It’s a tight race in the American League Wild Card. Oakland’s loss tied them with the Kansas City Royals for the top Wild Card spot and allowed the Anaheim Angels to clinch the division. The Seattle Mariners trail two games behind both the A’s and the Royals.
“To waste an effort like that from Shark [Samardzija] and have the bases loaded and nobody out the next inning… but you have to just keep grinding through it,” said Bob Melvin.
Texas tied the game in the ninth and took flight as their offense dominated. Doolittle surrendered a single to Elvis Andrus and a RBI double to Rougned Odor. An intentionally walk put Adrian Beltre on first. But it was J.P Arencibia’s three-run homer that stunned the crowd. The Rangers extended their lead 4-1.
“When I got down 0-2, I thought, “Let’s go, you got to get this run in,’” Arencibia said.
“I missed my spot a little bit and he made me pay for it,” said Doolittle. “I just don’t think it was my night.
After the bases were loaded Leonys Martin was hit by pitch and one run was walked in. Andrus single on a ground ball to second and Jake Smolinski scored. An unbelievable night on the mound was completely erased in one inning. Melvin even tried to challenge a call that was upheld on review. The damage had already been done.
“You got to take the positives out of it,” said Samardzija. “You got to look at where we’re at as a team. If you take a step back and you look at it as a whole, we’re still right where we need to be.”
Samardzija did everything he could to set the tone. He struck out ten batters for the third time this season and the eighth in his career. Samardzija has thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings which is a career high. He has allowed one run or fewer in 10 of his 31 starts.
The A’s got their opportunity in the fifth. Nate Freiman leadoff the inning by flying out to center field. Geovany Soto followed with a double and advanced to third on Nick Punto’s infield bunt. Sam Fuld found a hole with two outs and scored in Soto with a RBI single.
At the time a 1-0 lead was enough run support to back Samardzija’s stellar night. He walked none and stranded runners through out eight innings pitched. Oakland’s lost five of their last seven games and 14 of their last 19. Tomorrow they look ahead to avoid a sweep.
“I mean it hurts for a lot of different reasons,” Doolittle said. “You look at the job Samardzija did all night long, he was out there getting it done and our defense was air tight. That’s all you can ask for. Coming into that ninth inning, I just didn’t get it done.”