OAKLAND -- The question wasn’t whether the ball would clear the fence -- that much was obvious. The question was where in the world it was going to land.
The ball traveled well over the left-center field fence a Statcast-projected 450 feet from home plate. It cleared the left-field bleachers. If Mount Davis didn’t exist, it probably would’ve kept heading for the Oakland Hills. But alas, the ball had landed just shy of Oakland Coliseum’s luxury suites, where an alert fan had the presence of mind to reach out and spear the farthest ball Adolis García had ever hit.
García’s no-doubt two-run shot, one that headlined a two-hit, three-RBI game, came on an afternoon in which any silver lining was desperately needed for Texas. Beginning with a brutal seven-run third inning, an afternoon that began with tremendous promise quickly turned sour as the Rangers were thumped 12-3 by the A’s on Saturday afternoon.
“He fell behind and to do that with two strikes, that was big for him,” said manager Chris Woodward. “I know he has been struggling. He’s been expanding the strike zone a little bit, so it’s nice to see him tighten up there.”
It was exactly the type of hit that García has been seeking.
Since the All-Star Break, García has been hitting just .164, with three multi-hit games and two home runs, a significant downtick from the pace the rookie was on when he burst onto the scene in the season’s early months and earned his first All-Star nod. And with Joey Gallo traded to the Yankees, more of the offensive onus will fall on García’s shoulders.
“You gotta go out there every day and it’s hard, especially this late in the season," said Woodward. "The body’s tired, your mind’s a little bit tired, you’ve been grinding. It’s really important for him to get through these last two months.”
García might be feeling the effects of the dog days of summer, but rookie infielder Yonny Hernandez continued to provide a jolt of energy.
In his third Major League game, Hernandez reached base three times with two hits and a walk. Hernandez set the table for García’s home run in the first inning, battling from an 0-2 count to 3-2 to singling up the middle. Hernandez’s second hit of the afternoon came, rather appropriately, on another 3-2 count.
“That’s been his reputation throughout the organization,” Woodward said. “It’s a great reputation to have. This guy's a gamer. He’s not scared. He goes up there every at-bat with a plan. He fights to the end.”
While Hernandez and García set the tone early, things would soon fall apart for the Rangers in what ended up being a disaster of a third inning.
Drew Anderson, making his first Major League start since 2018, walked Elvis Andrus and Mark Canha to begin the inning. Starling Marte and Matt Olson followed those free passes up with back-to-back doubles, and after clipping Jed Lowrie with a breaking pitch, the right-hander's afternoon was over.
Oakland kept piling it on against Jimmy Herget, and by the time the inning was over Texas' two-run lead had become a five-run deficit.
Subsequent home runs from Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison effectively put a cap on the afternoon, resulting in the game's final score and the ultimate sign of a team on the wrong end of a lopsided box score: A position player pitching.
Third baseman Brock Holt took the mound his third career pitching appearance in the bottom of the eighth. Blending his 30 mph eephus pitches with a fastball that peaked at 82.7 mph, recording a 1-2-3 inning with the help of an outfield assist from left fielder Charlie Culberson and a strong play by DJ Peters in right field.
“Once they got that seven spot, it changed things on our side,” Woodward said. “I thought our offensive approach was good in the beginning, but once we fell behind a lot, you’re standing on defense for a long time, you’re a little frustrated, it’s hard to ignore that and not take it into your at-bats. Overall, we just didn’t execute.”