Oakland – The A’s continue their winning ways after a shutout yesterday in their double-header. Tonight, Cole Irvin was stellar on the mound and the A’s offense backed him with two home runs to take the first game of their three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Oakland beat the Rangers 5-2 behind a great start by Irvin. He retired 18 batters the first nine before the fourth frame and the next nine batters before the eighth when he issued his first walk. Irvin averaged 1.79 walks in a season. A’s manager Mark Kotsay ended Irvin’s night after he gave up a leadoff walk to start the eighth.
“In terms of Cole over the last month, I brought up his name to possibly pitch for the All-Star game, he’s been that good all year,” said Kotsay. “He goes out tonight at home and gives us seven innings and pitched a dominant game. I think he settled into the game rather quickly, he pounded the strike zone and kept his pitch count down. Anytime he can attack the plate and force batters to swing its a good night.”
Oakland’s offense was unstoppable tonight, two home runs from both Ramon Laureano and Seth Brown in the fifth frame. The A’s had five consecutive hits to dominate the inning. Laureano blasted a solo shot to right field and put Oakland up 2-1. Sean Murphy singled before Brown went deep to center field to make it a 4-1 run game.
Vimael Machin, hit a ground rule double in the second that scored in both Skye Bolt and Tony Kemp to give the A’s a 2-0 lead. But Texas challenged the play and after further review the call was overturned. When the ball gets stuck (win it dead under the right fence wall) it’s a dead ball, therefore, Machin’s ground rule double scored in Bolt and Kemp had to return to third base.
Marcus Semien’s single was the Rangers first hit in the fourth. Corey Seager scored on a single by Adolis Garcia who was tagged out at third after an amazing defensive play Laureano who threw from right field to third baseman Machin for the out to end the threat. Oakland played great defense to prevent the Rangers from scoring that second run.
Brooke Burke replaced Spencer Howard, Burke kept the A’s from putting up any hits in the sixth frame. Irvin retired the next nine batters before the seventh inning stretch. Unfortunately, after giving up a walk, he was replaced by Zach Jackson. Irvin pitched seven innings, one hit, one run earned, one walk and struck out eight for the night.
“I kind of applied that to my pregame routine,” said Irvin. “Tried it out my last start, I liked it, tried it this start, I liked it again, so I think it’s going to be part of it for the next start, too. That’s what’s great about this game, is you can never stop learning.”
Jackson gave up a leadoff walk to Leody Tarveras. Pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun struck out swinging, but a wild pitch advanced Calhoun to first on a throwing error by catcher Sean Murphy. Semien knocked a single mid-field and scored in Taveras to make it a 4-2 game. Jackson then forced Texas best hitter, Seager to line out to end the inning.
Bottom of the eighth, Chad Pinder doubled to leadoff the frame. Bolt grounded out and Pinder advanced to third which was a great play, Oakland needed an insurance run to keep their lead. Pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt singled and drove in Pinder to make it a 5-2 game. But the Rangers kept fighting.
Top of the ninth, closer Lou Trivino gave up a solo home run to Nathaniel Lowe. He walked Taveras and allowed back-to-back singles from Ezequiel Duran and Josh Smith. Smith’s RBI single drove in Taveras to make it a 5-4 game. A.J. Puck replaced Trivino, and hit Calhoun, but Semien grounded out to end the game. A’s win and Puck got his first save of the season.
Photos by Eric Taylor