After falling back a game behind the Rangers in the standings Tuesday night, the A’s whipped out their power bats Wednesday afternoon to put an exclamation point on regaining a tie for first place in the AL west.
Four home runs and another solid starting pitching effort lifted Oakland to their 80th victory of the season with an emphatic 11-4 win over division rival Texas.
Jerrod Parker pitched well enough (6 IP, 5H, 2ER) to earn his eleventh win of the year, and an Oakland record eighteenth straight start without a loss, in what was the anticipated pitcher’s duel of the series.
The A’s got to Texas starter Yu Darvish early and often, knocking the ace out of his rhythm with three runs in the first two frames. Oakland has now won all three games against the Rangers this season when their All-Star pitcher has faced them.
“There are some pretty good names that we’re getting good swings off of. The fact that we are beating good starting pitching, that’s even a better reason to feel good about yourself,” said Bob Melvin, who’s team is 9-3 over the past 12 games while facing some of the premier starting pitchers in the league, including victories over the two previous AL Cy Young Award winners Justin Verlander and David Price.
The bats and eyes of the Oakland hitters were patient enough to draw a season and career-high six walks from a frustrated Darvish.
Home runs from Brandon Moss (first inning), Daric Barton (sixth inning), Josh Donaldson (sixth inning), and Coco Crisp (eighth inning) put an exclamation point on the rubber game of the series win for the A’s.
With 23 games remaining, it will be a race to the division title, though this season the teams will not be facing each other for the final three games.
The next, and last time that the A’s and Rangers will play each other will be September 13, 14, and 15 in Texas.
Next up for the A’s is a four game series with the other team from Texas, the last place Houston Astros. It begins a key stretch in which Oakland has the opportunity to establish a lead in the division if they can take care of business.
Sonny Gray (2-2,2.57) will take the mound opposed by former A’s prospect Brad Peacock (3-5, 5.98) at 7:05 Thursday night at 7:05 PST.