OAKLAND -- Chad Pinder (aka "Chi" for Players Weekend) hit two home runs for only the second time in his young career, and the last-place Athletics knocked off the Rangers for the second straight game with an 8-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
The loss kept the Rangers from gaining ground in the American League Wild Card race on a day when both the Twins and Mariners lost. The Rangers remain two games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card spot.
Pinder hit both his home runs off Rangers starter Cole Hamels ("Hollywood"), who had won four straight starts coming into the game. This time Hamels allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings, which is tied for the shortest of his 17 starts this season.
"Sometimes things go awry and you have to bear down," Hamels said. "But sometimes you bear down and things still don't go well."
Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea ("Da Kid") picked up the victory despite allowing two runs in the first inning and managing to just get through five overall. Manaea also allowed seven hits, a walk and a hit batter through five but held the Rangers to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
"When you're going through a tough stretch, even though his last time was good, the first inning can bite you a little bit. All of a sudden, you give up a couple of runs and now you're on the fence a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We saw more swings and misses today, we saw a little better velocity at times -- 92, close to 93. He had to manage his way through the game."
Manaea added, "There were times where they were really putting the pressure on, and I had to bear down. Thankfully, I was able to make good pitches and let the defense work. Overall, it was just a good team win today."
The big one was in the fifth with the Athletics leading, 3-2. The Rangers loaded the bases with two outs for Mike Napoli ("Porterhouse"), who worked the count full with a couple of fly balls deep but foul down the left-field line. Manaea finally struck him out on a changeup to end the inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chapman's mad dash:Matt Chapman ("Chappy"), with the score 2-2, was on first with two outs and a full count on Matt Joyce in the fourth. Chapman was running on the pitch, and Joyce hit a grounder off third baseman Adrian Beltre's glove that rolled into shallow left field. Chapman never stopped and ended up scoring the go-ahead run on what was ruled an RBI single.
"Chapman runs way better than most people think -- when it scoots into the outfield, he doesn't let up at all and he allows Scar [third base coach Steve Scarsone] to send him," Melvin said. "You could see Scar was looking to send him the whole way, and when you give him that type of effort, it makes it easy for the third-base coach. Not often do you see a guy score on a single like that."
Pinder has change for home run: Pinder's second home run came off a changeup from Hamels in the third inning. This was only the third time Hamels has given up a home run on a changeup and the first time since the All-Star break.
"He threw me a cutter in and threw me a backfoot curveball up that was a really, really good pitch to get me to two strikes," Pinder said. "Then he started throwing a couple changeups, and he left that last one up a little bit, and I was able to get extended on it." More >
"They have Major League talent. It's not easy to beat anybody. Yes, we obviously should beat them, but they came out and played better than we did." -- Beltre, on the Athletics
"The last three or four starts have been really disappointing. The past two starts, I feel like I've taken a step in the right direction. Today, overall, was an OK game, but I'm still not to where I want to be. Looking at it like that is frustrating, but I know I'm going to go through more streaks like this throughout my career. I've got to know when not to be so hard on myself and take away the positive things, and today was definitely a positive. Just try to build off this and take it into the next start." -- Manaea, on his recent pitching
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin pitches against the Athletics at 3:05 p.m. CT Sunday at the Coliseum. Griffin is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last four starts. He is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three starts against the Athletics this season.
A's: Right-hander Jharel Cotton (6-10, 5.63 ERA) will look to build off his strong start last time out when he takes the mound for Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT start. Cotton picked up his first win in nearly two months Aug. 20 in Houston, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
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