A's offense stays hot to down Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Ben Zobrist and Josh Phegley homered, as the A's offense kept rolling in a series-opening 8-6 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Park on Tuesday night.
Texas scored four times against right-hander Jesse Chavez in the fifth inning, highlighted by Rougned Odor's third hit of the night, a two-run home run, but the A's responded with six runs over their next two innings to retake the lead. Ike Davis, Phegley and Marcus Semien hit RBI doubles in a four-run sixth, and Zobrist's two-run home run off righty Keone Kela in the seventh provided insurance. The A's have scored 62 runs over their last nine games.
"We're starting to have that positive attitude and that confidence that we can come back from deficits," Phegley said. "We get some guys on and we're going to put pressure on pitchers. We're going to swing the bats and score runs."
Rangers right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, who had a 0.90 ERA through his first four big league starts, was on the hook for six runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Like Odor, Elvis Andrus enjoyed a three-hit game, driving in two runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Phegley delivers: Phegley made just his 11th start against a right-hander this season, with Stephen Vogt sidelined after receiving a cortisone shot in his left elbow, and proceeded to homer and double, driving in three runs. The catcher's fifth-inning home run, a shot to left-center, was his fourth of the season. He has 20 hits over his last 19 games. More >
"He had some pretty good swings for a guy that doesn't play all the time and typically plays against left-handed pitching, and you've got a right-hander on the mound that's been unbelievable on righties," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Gonzalez can't hold lead: Gonzalez had a 5-2 lead going into the sixth but let it get away. He walked Zobrist to start the inning and hit Billy Butler with a pitch with one out. A double by Davis scored one run and a two-out double by Phegley tied the score. Kela replaced Gonzalez, but a double by Semien put the A's ahead. The six runs allowed by Gonzalez were twice as many as he allowed in his first four starts. More >
"I started nitpicking and not really attacking the glove, trying to go around it," Gonzalez said. "Just trying to hit the plate. But yeah, I've got to attack more hitters in those situations and hopefully they get themselves out."
Bullpen gets job done: An A's bullpen that's endured consistent struggles put together four encouraging innings, with one unearned run allowed. Notably, left-hander Drew Pomeranz rebounded after walking his first batter to work around a couple baserunners and notch the final five outs, earning his first career save.
"It's great. We're all trying to pick each other up, and of course we want to pick up Chavy and pick up the guy in front of us," Pomeranz said. "We're trying to pick everyone up when they need us. Even though we've had a few struggles, I don't think it beats us down too much."
Beltre returns: Adrian Beltre returned to the Rangers' lineup after missing three weeks with a sprained left thumb. Beltre was 1-for-4 and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the Rangers' four-run fifth inning. He reached base on third baseman Brett Lawrie's throwing error in the seventh and scored on a double by Andrus. In the ninth, Beltre worked the count full against reliever Pomeranz and then singled to left. He was erased on Mitch Moreland's double-play grounder. More >
"Amazing guy," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "To be on the disabled list and come through like he did. He swung the bat well and barrelled some baseballs up."
"I've always been a guy who's pitched into trouble. Even in high school I'd walk the bases loaded and strike out the side, I [kid] you not. I don't know what the deal is. But I've always been fairly good at getting out of situations like that. They don't really bother me." -- Pomeranz
With one out in the fourth inning, Butler grounded into what was initially ruled a double play that would've ended the inning. But the A's challenged, and after a quick review, the call was overturned and the inning continued. The next batter, Davis, grounded into a force to end the frame.
Athletics: Right-hander Kendall Graveman, who has a 2.27 ERA in six starts since returning from Triple-A, will face the Rangers at Globe Life Park for the second game of a three-game series on Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. PT.
Rangers: Wandy Rodriguez pitches against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Arlington. Rodriguez is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last six starts.
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