OAKLAND – Overall, a pair of joggers doesn’t make a big deal. But in a game defined by slim winning margins, the Rangers’ two-run advantage felt like it was enough to get the job done as they headed into the bottom 10 on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, the A’s responded with a big league in the traditional sense, driving in four runs to knock out the Rangers, 9-7. With the loss at the Coliseum, Texas is 1-2 in overtime games.
“They’re fighting hard out there, just like us,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “You have it on the ropes, you want to end it. We can’t do that tonight.”
The little things added up quickly in a back-and-forth relationship, which saw a steady stream of lead changes as lockdowns eluded both teams. Neither the Rangers nor the A’s led by more runs at any time in the first nine innings.
The A’s got to the plate first when Esteury Ruiz hit a leadoff home run (his first in the Majors) on the first pitch that kicked him off Rangers player Martín Perez, but Ezequiel Duran evened the score with an RBI double in the top of the second. . Oakland took the lead again in the last half of the frame, only for Robbie Grossman to tie the game again in the third period.
That cycle repeated, with the Rangers scoring a run in every shot from the second through the sixth innings. Texas took a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth, but watched Ruiz knock on the tying run.
“Fight back and forth, just one of those games,” Boshi said. “Early on, we just couldn’t get that big of a hit to make it out of reach. We kept running once, lost that crooked number, and had some guys on base there.”
There was little margin for error all evening, which made the missed chances all the more dangerous.
Going into the day, the Rangers lead at 0.918 OPS with runners in the leading scoring position. They went 6-for-19 in such situations on Friday, leaving 13 on base.
Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity came in the eighth inning, when the Rangers’ bases were loaded by one out. A’s left-hander Sam Mole managed to get two quick touchdowns to kill the rally, with Adolis García still benched.
Bochy said he tried to pull away from García to give him a full day off, but he ended up going to the outfielder in the tenth inning. García hit an RBI hit and Marcus Semien drove in an insurance run on a single – but the troublesome A refused to go far, as Brent Rooker hit a three-run hit against Brock Burke’s left hand.
“We got some hits with the runners in the scoring position,” Bochy said. “But when they were full, we couldn’t get that other hit.
“But still, when you score seven, you’re taking your chances. It was a bit of a promotion today.”
Prior to Friday, Perez had been undefeated in his previous five starts, although he gave up a season-high seven in the last. He had another shaky outing on Friday, allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out three on two walks.
“I was missing a lot of stadiums,” Perez said. “That’s when you get hit, when you don’t locate your pitches.”
Perez gave up 11 home runs in 2022, which was tied for the second fewest allowed among eligible starters. He surrendered eight rounders in as many starts in ’23, including three solo bunts to an A.J.
During last season’s career year, Perez dominated the A’s, allowing just two runs over 20 runs in three starts, all at the Coliseum. Double that total on Friday night.
Rangers are ready to move on from a frustrating evening after coming off on the wrong side of a game of the sidelines. After all, he could have swung the other way so easily.
Perez said, “We have to come tomorrow and play better than them, because they played better than us today.”
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