OAKLAND -- The Rangers surely count themselves among the winners from the 2023 Trade Deadline. Fittingly, they haven't lost since.
Texas beat Oakland, 6-1, for its eighth straight win on Tuesday night at the Coliseum. It's the Rangers' longest winning streak since they won 10 in a row from May 9-19, 2017. Through 114 games, Texas has 68 wins -- matching the team's total in 2022.
Asked before the game what has stood out most during the undefeated streak, manager Bruce Bochy said the team's pitching has been particularly impressive. The Rangers have logged six quality starts in their past eight games after tallying only five in July, and the latest one belongs to Max Scherzer.
"He threw a beautiful game, didn't he?" Bochy said. "Had a good mix going, located well. It's fun to watch."
Making his second start for the Rangers since being acquired from the Mets ahead of the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, Scherzer held the A's to one run on three hits and two walks. He completed seven innings for the third time in his past five games.
Oakland's lone run came by way of JJ Bleday, who launched a solo shot -- the 20th homer Scherzer has allowed on the road this year, compared with four at home -- to lead off the fourth inning.
“That’s just a typical Scherzer outing," A's manager Mark Kotsay said. "He knows how to pitch. That’s why he’s been so successful in his career and why the Rangers went out and got him -- to eat innings and be a big-time performer.”
Regardless of his opponent or the situation at hand, Scherzer is known for his competitive intensity the moment he toes the rubber. That was apparent when the 39-year-old right-hander had an animated exchange with home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna that seemingly came out of nowhere after he recorded the final out of the seventh inning.
The way Scherzer explained it, with the double play that brought an abrupt end to the top of the seventh, he had been under the impression that he would have a little extra time to warm up. As the timer between innings was winding down, Iassogna told Scherzer that he had one warmup pitch left, so he threw it -- but not before the clock ran out and he was assessed an automatic ball.
Scherzer, not wanting to deal with the issue during the inning, waited until he recorded the third out of the frame to hear Iassogna's explanation.
"Dan was trying to say something, I think, after one of the outs," Scherzer said. "I was like, 'Dan, I'll talk to you after the inning.' ... I mean, I'm locked in. Nothing's going to take my focus away. I knew I needed to get through the inning, and then once I was able to get through the inning ... that's when I wanted to go talk to Dan and have him explain his vantage point. And I was explaining my vantage point."
The lively discussion by the first-base line took some attention away from the play Scherzer made to end the seventh. Fielding a bunt off the bat of Oakland's Nick Allen, Scherzer ranged to his right to grab the ball and fired to first with time to spare to retire the speedy shortstop.
"I'm a better athlete than you think," Scherzer said with a chuckle. "I've got three stolen bases in my career, so I'm a little better than you think."
Through two starts with Texas, Scherzer is 2-0 and has allowed four earned runs across 13 innings. He's struck out 15 against four walks.
The newest Ranger has also enjoyed a front-row seat to the most potent offense in the big leagues, which has backed him with at least five runs in both of his starts. On Tuesday, Texas outhit Oakland 13-3, led by Corey Seager's three-hit night that saw him finish a triple shy of the cycle.
Along with Seager, Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe, Robbie Grossman and Sam Huff all recorded multiple hits.
With that kind of firepower on his side, Scherzer has been able to dial up the intensity even more.
"It gives you breathing room, gives you operating room to be a little bit more aggressive with their offense," Scherzer said. "It's great to get that type of run support, and hopefully these guys keep banging away for the rest of the way. They've got a great thing going, so it's fun to watch."