Lyles goes six, but Rangers fall to A's

August 15th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward has emphasized the need for his club to nail down shutdown innings after scoring on offense.

The exact opposite happened Saturday night, as Texas' pitching staff surrendered four runs in the top of the seventh inning, including back-to-back shots from Mitch Moreland and Matt Chapman, immediately after the offense tied up the game in the bottom of the sixth.

The Rangers ultimately fell, 8-3, to the A’s at Globe Life Field, with the pitching staff giving up a combined five home runs and 11 total hits.

Starter turned in a serviceable outing, as he was able to eat six full innings before being chased from the game, but his four home runs surrendered made the difference in what would have otherwise been a close game.

Woodward said he felt that he was confident sending Lyles back out for the seventh inning, feeling that the veteran could handle getting through one more. Instead, he gave up the homers to Moreland and Chapman, which tied the game at the time.

“It’s frustrating because I had the choice to send him back out or go to Brett [Martin],” said Woodward. “I thought he had the stuff to get through it. It’s unfortunate because we tied the game and Jordan’s been throwing the ball really well for us. It didn't work out, but at the end of the day that's probably what I would have done again.”

Lyles said that last inning changed his entire perception of his outing from “decent to terrible." He has now allowed 31 homers this season, just two behind teammate Mike Foltynewicz for the Major League lead. This is the third time this season he’s given up four home runs in a single game.

“A five-spot right there [in the game], that’s tough,” Lyles said. “Two more homers [in the seventh inning] to put on the log this year, that’s just disappointing.”

Offensively, Nathaniel Lowe and rookie Yohel Pozo both notched multi-hit games and Lowe had two of the Rangers’ three RBIs, but Texas wasn’t able to get much more going on at the plate against A's starter James Kaprielian and the Oakland bullpen. Woodward praised Pozo for his early success, which has spanned two strong big league performances so far

“He’s just impressive,” Woodward said. “This guy can do whatever he wants with the bat. The lack of swing-and-miss allows him to put good wood on the ball. He's got some adjustability on his swing, but he's gonna have to learn to stay more in the strike zone. That's his biggest challenge ... Obviously it's a small sample, but it's nice to have him get off to a good start."

Woodward added that he was pleased with the overall approach and pressure of the offense, especially for the first six innings of play. 

He pointed to two plays that were turning points for the game, in favor of the A’s: rookie Yonny Hernandez not getting a bunt down with two on and no outs in the third and a diving play by Chapman on a fly ball in shallow left field in the fifth in a hit-and-run situation.

“I think Chapman made the play of the year on that ball down the line,” Woodward said. “I don't know if anybody else on Earth makes that play. That was a game-changer for sure. We may pull the game open at that point.

“He had no business catching that popup. That's a base hit or double that kind of like I said, breaks the game wide open. For him to get to that ball, and then to catch it the way he did. It's just, you know, it's frustrating.”