OAKLAND COLISEUM — The A’s homered their way back into a first-place tie in the American League West Wednesday as they pounded the Texas Rangers 11-4.
For the second game in a row, Oakland jumped out to an early lead. With two outs in the first, Jed Lowrie drew a walk from Yu Darvish, and Brandon Moss launched his 26th home run of the year to right field.
The A’s added a run on a Coco Crisp sacrifice fly in the second inning to make it 3-0.
But Texas made a game of it. Jim Adduci led off the top of the third with a single before Leonys Martin doubled him home and Craig Gentry singled in Martin to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
Then came the sixth inning, where the Oakland bats exploded for six runs to break the game wide open.
Alberto Callaspo led off with a walk before Daric Barton crushed his own two-run home run. Eric Sogard then singled, Stephen Vogt doubled, and Crisp singled home Sogard before Josh Donaldson provided the biggest blow of the game – a three-run shot to left – to make it 9-3 A’s.
For Darvish (L, 12-7, 2.91 ERA), his five innings of work matched his shortest outing of the season (April 7 vs. the Los Angeles Angels).
Darvish threw 100 pitches, 52 of them strikes, and allowed five earned runs, six walks, and struck out only four.
He’s now 1-5 with a 4.86 ERA in six career starts against the A’s. Bob Melvin is impressed with Oakland’s ability to beat a pitcher as good as Darvish:
A’s manager Bob Melvin
“If you get him on the run early, like any good starter, it seems like you have a better chance off of him. Moss hits the home run, and now it looked like he had some command issues after that. He got back in it, really had to use his breaking ball more than his fastball to throw strikes, so I think it’s just trying to him out of sync early in games, and we’ve been able to do that a couple of times.”
Oakland starter Jarrod Parker continued his winning ways this season. He pitched six innings of two-run baseball today, good enough for his 11th win on the year. He’s now 9-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his last 18 starts.
Parker’s unbeaten streak of 18 starts is a new Oakland franchise record. Melvin says that they took Parker out after only six innings and 87 pitches because he’s pitched so well and so much for them lately.
“He could’ve gone farther. It’s when we scored the runs, I wanted to give him a break … the stuff’s always been there, and he’s just been feeling better about himself. When you have that kind of confidence, and you add that together with the stuff, and now you’re seeing the type of pitcher that he is.”
Brett Anderson, making his third appearance since coming off the disabled list on August 28, pitched the final three innings for Oakland.
Anderson allowed an RBI single to Jim Adduci in the seventh and a solo home run to Geovany Soto to lead off the ninth, but finished with no walks and four strike outs, enough to earn his second save of the year.
Just for good measure, Crisp launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the A’s their fourth homer of the game and their final two runs.
Donaldson says that beating a pitcher like Darvish shows how good this Oakland line-up can be:
“I think it shows that we have a pretty good line-up on any given day. Depending on whoever is on the mound, we can put up some runs. This is a great time right now for our offense to get it going. It takes a little bit of pressure off our pitchers.”
The A’s have now won five of their last six on their way into a first-place tie with Texas atop the West. They’ll look to take an outright lead during a four-game set with the Houston Astros starting on Thursday night.
Barton is 8 for 25 with six RBIs in nine games since his return. … Crisp recorded a season-high four RBIs and has hit four home runs over his last five games. … Moss is 4 for 13 with three home runs against Darvish in his career. … Vogt extended his career-high seven-game hitting streak, and recorded two doubles for the first time in his career.