ARLINGTON -- For the second night in a row, the A's were sunk by a torrent of home runs from the Rangers, falling 8-2 Wednesday night as normally reliable starter Daniel Mengden surrendered four homers in just four innings.
"It just came down to not throwing strikes and not executing," Mengden said. "Everything was kind of hit or miss. I executed some, didn't execute on a few, and the ones that I didn't really execute came back to hurt me. I didn't give up very many hits, but they ended up being [almost] all homers. Sometimes that's a good thing, solo homers usually don't hurt you, but in this case, four of them - that hurts."
Texas banged out five round-trippers Tuesday night, and the A's have now served up a Major League-high 51 homers on the road this season. Jurickson Profar hit two off Mengden, while Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman each hit one off the starter. Profar and Gallo hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, giving the Rangers an early 3-0 lead.
"I guess we caught them at a bad time, being hot," Mengden said.
Mengden, a Houston native who played at Texas A&M, has the most wins on the club (six) and had the lowest ERA (2.91) heading into Wednesday's game. But he allowed six earned runs, the most he's given up since 2016, on five hits -- all of them for extra bases. Nomar Mazara doubled with two outs in the first before Profar and Gallo teed off.
Profar got to Mengden again in the third with two outs. Mengden said the two gopher balls to Profar -- a fastball and a changeup -- were the worst pitches he threw all night.
"He was just all over those pitches … I've got to tip my cap to him for doing what he's supposed to do with those pitches," Mengden said. "Those were the two I didn't execute at all. Those were just middle-middle and they got hammered."
Mengden walked three and struck out three as his ERA went up more than half a run to 3.45. He had walked just eight batters in 12 prior starts this season.
"You don't expect him to walk anybody the way he's been pitching," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been getting ahead, he's been on the corners, he's been not giving anybody much to hit. And then today, some balls in the middle of the plate, got behind in some counts, walked a couple guys, which is not typical of him."
Against the oldest man in the Majors, Texas starter Bartolo Colon, the Oakland offense managed two runs on six hits -- including Khris Davis' second home run in two games -- in five innings. That was enough to get Colon his 243rd Major League victory and tie him with Juan Marichal for the most wins by a Dominican-born pitcher. Colon is two wins behind Dennis Martinez for the most by any Latin American pitcher.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
First-inning woes: Mengden walked the first batter of the game, but got a double-play ball, and was on the verge of getting out of the first inning unscathed before a nightmarish nine-pitch, three-batter sequence put him down three runs. Mazara doubled to center on the third pitch of the at-bat, a 92-mph four-seamer on a 1-1 count. Profar tagged a 91-mph four-seamer on a 1-0 count, hitting it 418 feet to right with a 106.4 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™. Then, on a 1-2 pitch, the fourth of the at-bat, Gallo blasted a 429-foot homer to right with a 110.1-mph exit velocity.
Davis continues to hammer the Rangers -- he now has 20 homers against them since the beginning of 2016, still the most by any player against any team during that span. Davis' 17 homers against the Mariners are second-most, while Nelson Cruz's 15 against the A's are third. During the past two-plus seasons against the Rangers, Davis is hitting .299 with a 1.139 OPS.
HE SAID IT
"He's found a way to stick around, obviously, doing things a little differently. He doesn't throw 97 miles an hour, but what he'll do is, he'll throw 83, he'll throw 85, he'll throw 87, he's still on the corners, or just off the corners to get you to expand your zone. And then he'll run one up there 91, 92 every now and then, and it looks like it's 100. But more than anything, instead of just being on the plate all the time, he's just off and waits to see how you're going to approach him. If you make him throw it over the plate, he'll throw it over the corner. He's found a way to be effective without the style that he used to pitch in." -- Melvin, on Colon
Paul Blackburn, who has been out since the end of Spring Training with a right forearm strain, will make his season debut at home against the Royals on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. PT. Kansas City will send right-hander Jason Hammel to the hill. Blackburn was 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 10 starts in his rookie season last year. The A's just finished a series with the Royals in Kansas City from June 1-3; Oakland won two of three, including a 16-0 rout in the series opener.