Rangers Outlast A’s, win 8-6

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Sep 22, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (18) crosses home plate after hitting a home run against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

126. Final. 6. 96. 8

The Texas Rangers (81-69) came from behind tonight to beat the Oakland Athletics (64-86) 8-6, taking game one of the three game series. This was a good win for the Rangers tonight, as they have had trouble with teams below .500 for most of the year. The Rangers scratched and clawed all night, and it was a good come from behind win. Chi Chi Gonzalez (4-5 3.84 ERA) got the win for the Rangers, while Drew Pomeranz (5-6 3.59 ERA) took the loss for the A’s.

Martin Perez took the ball for the Rangers, looking to build off his phenomenal outing last time out against the Astros. Unfortunately for the Rangers and Perez, his outing tonight didn’t go so well. Perez gave up five runs, four earned, on six hits and three walks. He was only able to make it through four innings tonight, throwing 69 pitches, 39 of which were strikes. He struggled with command all night, and he just wasn’t sharp from the first pitch. Thankfully for the Rangers, the revamped bullpen came to the rescue again. Chi Chi Gonzalez came out of the bullpen and threw a two spectacular innings, keeping the A’s at bay and giving his ball club a chance to get back in it. Keone Kela continued his torrid stretch, pitching a solid inning of work. Jake Diekman came in and got the one batter he was tasked with to strike out, needing just five pitches to do so. Sam Dyson then followed with 2/3 innings of work, allowing the first hit of the night for the Rangers bullpen. Nevertheless, he got through the 8th unscathed, and turned it over to Shawn Tolleson. Tolleson worked an eventful night for the Rangers, allowing one run but preserving the win in the process.

The A’s turned to 25-year-old Sean Nolin, and he had a rough outing for the A’s. Nolin gave up five earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and struck out two. Nolin wasn’t overly efficient either, as he needed 98 pitches, 57 of which were strikes, to get through his five innings of work. A’s skipper Bob Melvin decided to bring in Drew Pomeranz to stop the bleeding, but that didn’t work out as he hoped. Pomeranz came into the ballgame with the score at a 5-5 deadlock, but lost the lead in his one inning of work. Pomeranz pitched one inning, allowing one hit and one earned run. The Rangers then got some insurance in the seventh inning off Daniel Coulombe, when they tagged him for two runs on two hits in his 1 1/3 inning of work. R.J. Alvarez worked the last 2/3 of an inning in the eighth, allowing one hit but that is it. Switch pitcher Pat Venditte worked the ninth, allowing a lead-off hit and two walks, but struck out the side to escape the jam.

The Rangers have swung some hot bats as of late, and that was certainly the case again tonight. The Rangers got things going in the first, when Delino DeShields walked to open up the ball game. Adrian Beltre then followed that with a base hit to right field, scoring the speedy DeShields from second as he slid headfirst into home. The Rangers got two more in the third, when Shin-Soo Choo and Beltre delivered sac flies, drawing the Rangers within one. The big blow came in the sixth inning, though, when Mitch Moreland tied his career high in home runs with an absolute tater to straight away center field, scoring Will Venable and drawing the Rangers even at 5-5. DeShields then made sure to give the Rangers the lead in the sixth, as he lifted a sacrifice fly to score Elvis Andrus and give the Rangers a 6-5 lead.

The Rangers got some insurance in the eight inning, when Rougned Odor got in on the fun and singled to right, scoring Andrus and making it 7-5. Odor then came around to score on a DeShields sacrifice fly, tallying the Rangers last run of the night and making it 8-5.

The Rangers had many great performances tonight, led by DeShields. The lead off man went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Beltre also had a good night, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs as well, and Mitch had a big game, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk.

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The A’s swung it pretty good tonight, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the Rangers down the stretch. Former Ranger Jake Smolinski got the A’s on the board with his triple to deep center, scoring Josh Reddick. Marcus Semien followed with a triple of his own, scoring Smolinski and giving the A’s the lead. Mark Canha capped off the A’s three run inning with a single, giving the A’s a brief 3-1 lead. Smolinski came around in the fourth and added to that lead with a RBI fielder’s choice, scoring Danny Valencia and making it 4-1. The A’s were gifted a run in the sixth thanks to a Mike Napoli error in left field, as it allowed Brett Lawrie to score and make it 5-3. After that, the Rangers bullpen came in and quieted the A’s bats, shutting the A’s out until the ninth.

With the win and the Astros loss, the Rangers increase their lead in the West to two games. I’m not one to speculate, but as soon as the Astros game went final and it was shown that they had lost, the Rangers turned it on and sensed the opportunity at hand. Thankfully they did, and they gave themselves some breathing room down the stretch.

The Rangers will look to build on the series-opening win, sending veteran RHP Colby Lewis (16-8 4.41 ERA) to the hill. The A’s will look to even the series, countering with LHP Felix Doubront (3-2 4.95 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. CT from O.co Coliseum, and you can watch the Rangers game live locally on Fox Sports Southwest, or watch on any connected device with an Mlb.tv subscription.

Next: The value of Will Venable for the Texas Rangers

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