A’s Swept Out Of First Place By Rangers

For the first time since September 3-5, 2012 the A’s were swept at the Coliseum, being knocked out of first place in the AL west in the process by rival Texas.

The Oakland bats were cold on the warm Wednesday afternoon, as Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez held the A’s to just 3 hits as he tossed a shutout in the 3-0 Texas win.

“You’ve got to give him some credit, we didn’t look too good, but the reason for it was probably him. He mixed it up to where even if we had a beat on him, the next time up he’d pitch you a little bit differently,” said Bob Melvin.

For the third game in a row, former A’s-turned-Rangers led the charge for Texas, with Michael Choice and Donnie Murphy factoring in all 3 of the Rangers runs.

Choice walked to lead off the game, and eventually came around to score what would be the game game-winning run before the A’s even took their first at bat. Choice would add an RBI-single in the fifth, and Murphy would put an exclamation mark on the day with a solo home run in the sixth.

“You have to [put those early struggles aside], because if you don’t you’re going to have a long day. Obviously you never want to put your team down without even coming to bat, but that happened today and we weren’t able to overcome it,” said Sonny Gray.

Gray notched another quality start (7IP, 5H, 3ER, 8K), but his career-high four walks, and the lack of run support resulted in the young ace taking his first loss of the season.

“He was a little out of sync early, but he always finds a way to come back keep you in the game, and get through those tough periods with limited damage,” said Melvin.

Lead off singles to start the fourth and fifth innings looked promising for the A’s, however in both instances Perez was able to snuff out the Oakland rally attempts by forcing double plays the next batter he faced.

The A’s managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning with a double off the bat of Josh Donaldson and a two-out walk from Derek Norris.  However, Alberto Callaspo grounded out to second base to end the threat, and Oakland was not able to put another runner on base in the ballgame.

“They just beat us. There’s not much else to say. They played better than we did and deserved to win. We just have to put it past us, get on the road, get a win under our belt and start rolling again,” said Melvin about being swept by Texas.

“You’re going to have your little lumps in the road, everybody does, you just have to come back. The next game is the most important game,” said Donaldson.

Next up for Oakland is a four-game series at Houston, where Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.65) will look to end the A’s losing streak at 3 games. Opposing him on the hill will be Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.04) with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 PST Thursday evening.