The Oakland A’s sealed the deal on Sunday, beating the Texas Rangers 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep at the Ballpark in Arlington.
The A’s pushed their lead in the West to a commanding 6.5 games in the process.
Whereas Friday’s 9-8 win and Saturday’s 1-0 victory were both particularly tense games for Bob Melvin’s team, Sunday’s game seemed much more one-sided. The Rangers offense couldn’t get much going against lefty Tommy Milone, filling in for Jarrod Parker (who was scratched shortly before first pitch as he was feeling under the weather).
Yoenis Cespedes was also a late scratch as he experienced some shoulder soreness. Cespedes is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, but the team hopes he’ll be able to get in the lineup as the DH in the next few days.
On Sunday, the A’s scored quickly against Rangers starter Martin Perez. Coco Crisp and Chris Young singled right out of the gate, with Crisp scoring the A’s first run on Jed Lowrie’s double play grounder.
Josh Donaldson then stepped up and hit a solo homer to left, increasing the lead to 2-0.
Milone gave one of the runs back to the Rangers in the first. Singles from Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski narrowed the A’s lead to 2-1, but that was all the offense Texas could muster on the afternoon, as Milone navigated his way through the first without any further damage.
Chris Young tacked on a third run with a solo homer of his own in the third inning, picking up his second hit in the process.
Milone was lifted after five innings with a line of 5 IP, 6 H, 1ER, 1 BB, 5 K, and the A’s bullpen – Dan Otero, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Jesse Chavez – combined for the next four innings of scoreless relief.
In the top of the ninth, Josh Reddick lined a two-run homer off Rangers reliever Joakim Soria, extending the A’s lead to 5-1, which was the final score.
This was a big, important series for both the A’s and the Rangers, and Oakland came through with a dominant series sweep. The A’s pitching staff only allowed Texas one run over the final 18 innings of the series, as the Rangers’ inability to get the big hit was a big issue (and was a key reason the Rangers lost every game of their six-game homestand to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the A’s).
As a result of the A’s sweep, Oakland (88-61) now holds a 6.5 game lead in the American League West. Their magic number to clinch the division is eight, and could conceivably happen during the upcoming homestand – assuming the cards fall into place, of course.
That homestand will begin tomorrow night, when C.J. Wilson (16-6, 3.44 ERA) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim take on Sonny Gray (3-3, 2.63 ERA) and the A’s at 7:05 p.m. PDT at the Coliseum.