Written by Jeff Weisinger and edited by Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – After the Texas Rangers celebrated their second-straight American League West title last night, the Oakland A’s had no defense for them today. The A’s looked nothing like the team that had beat them in their previous meeting.
Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus hit a pair of two-run homers to spark the Rangers 5-0 win over Oakland Saturday afternoon.
The shutout extends the A’s scoreless streak to 18 innings – they are 0-5 on the final homestead of the season beginning against the Houston Astros back on Wednesday. A big difference after going 6-1on their last road trip.
“We really had a good feeling coming in here and haven’t been able to sustain anything since we’ve been home,” Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We had one game where we scored some runs, but really it’s been the offense that’s held us back here at home, whereas on the road that wasn’t a problem at all.”
The results of the A’s final home stand is the complete opposite of their road trip last week, where they won six of their seven games, outscoring their opponents 61-23. Since their return home, they’ve been outscored 20-8. Oakland is also batting just .158 through the five games so far.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish, who’s struggled against the A’s with a lifetime 2-9 record and a 5.09 ERA in 13 career starts coming into today, pitched one of his best games of the season, striking out nine batters while allowing just a pair of hits through seven shutout innings.
“I felt pretty good,” said Darvish through his translator after the game. “I was able to throw a lot of strikes.”
Darvish allowed a single to designated hitter Stephen Vogt in the bottom of the first inning, however he bounced back quick, retiring the next 11 batters he faced. Yonder Alonso ended Darvish’s hitless streak with his one-out single in the fifth inning.
Oakland starter Raul Alcantara picked up his second loss of the season, allowing four runs on seven hits through six innings while striking out six and walking one. He surrendered both of Andrus’ home runs.
Alcantara mentioned that he was just as surprised with Andrus’ power and the two home runs he hit.
“He has a lot of bloopers,” he said about Andrus’ hitting.
“I thought I was pitching well,” Alcantara added. “It was two key pitches that were ineffective. I felt good. My pitches were good, those two pitches affected me, that’s what cost me today.”
Melvin agreed with his young starter.
“I thought he threw the ball well today,” he said in his post-game presser. “It ended up being two pitches for him. Fastball got over to Andrus and a changeup that sped him up. Other than that I thought he threw the ball well.”
Although the A’s struggled offensively, their best chance to show any signs of life came in the eighth inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases before Vogt flew out to center field, ending the threat to tie the game at four.
Oakland gave themselves another chance to score in the ninth inning when Khris Davis led off with a double to left field. Followed by Brett Eibner drawing a one-out walk. But both Marcus Semien and Matt McBride popped out to right field for the final two outs of the game.
The A’s will look to another young potential star pitcher to snap the five-game skid Sunday afternoon when Jharel Cotton (1-0, 1.50 ERA) takes the mound against Texas’ Colby Lewis (6-3, 3.40 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.