By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – It wasn’t the plan to begin the six-game homestead this way. The A’s returned home after the break and had no high expectations regarding their recent wins and amazing start to the second half of the season. Oakland never won the first four-games after the MLB All-Star break (first All-Star game was in 1933).
Winning their last nine out of ten games, the A’s lost 6-1 to the Texas Rangers. Only a two-game series, Oakland came into tonight’s game three games over .500. But that meant nothing to the Rangers who hold the second best record in the Majors behind the New York Yankees.
Roy Oswalt made his fifth start and pitched a stellar game through 6 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out six. Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick were the only Athletics to get hits, Cespedes hit both a double and a single while Reddick blasted his 21st homer. After Oswalt gave up the home run, his night was over with 103 pitches.
“He did an excellent job,” said manager Ron Washington. “He had a real good mix tonight. He changed speeds, kept the ball down and got ahead of hitters. He did a real good job, he really did.”
“Roy pitched well,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He kept us off balance with a change-up, slider, curveball and his location of the fastball. We’ve been playing good offense up until this point.”
Oakland feel into their old ways with poor decision making and errors that were costly. Two of those mistakes came from A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon. In the third frame Craig Gentry hit a ground ball to first baseman Chris Carter who threw to Colon for the out at first but he was too slow getting to the base.
While Ian Kinsler was batting Bartolo over threw first on the pick-off attempt and Gentry advance to third. After walking Kinsler, Elvis Andrus’ RBI single put Texas up 1-0.
The Rangers added three more runs in the fourth when Adrian Beltre leadoff the inning with a solo shot. Then both Mike Napoli and Gentry hit back-to-back singles scoring runners in to give them a 4-0 lead to end the inning.
Josh Hamilton who now leads the majors in home runs blasted his 28th home run and drove in a run. After striking out his in first three plate appearances his last two at-bats proved worthy.
“It was important to come in here and play the game the way its supposed to be played,” said Hamilton. “We started off slow, trying to figure out what Colon was going to do. But the guys did a good job staying in there, not getting discouraged and getting it done.”
Oakland tried to rally behind Josh Reddick’s 21st homer to leadoff the bottom of the seventh but runners were left on base. Another opportunity presented itself in the eighth when Rangers pitcher Mike Adams loaded the bases with only one out. Yoenis was called out on strikes for the second out and Brandon Moss popped out to third baseman Beltre to end the inning.
The A’s bullpen feel apart in the end, closer Jim Miller leadoff the inning by walking Napoli, then hit Craig with a pitch and walked Ian to load the bases with no outs. He struck out Elvis but Josh’s sacrifice fly scored in anther run to secure their win. Adrian’s fly out to center field ended the inning.
“We looked a little out of sync,” Melvin said. “Hopefully it’s just one game.”