One run not enough as A’s lose ground to Rangers

OAKLAND COLISEUM — The Oakland A’s lost a game in the standings Tuesday night, dropping game two of their series with the Texas Rangers, 5-1.

With the win, Texas (80-58) regains a one-game lead on the A’s (79-59) in the American League West. Oakland maintained a 2-1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL Wild Card race after the Rays (76-61) fell to the Los Angeles Angels 7-1.

Once again, Coco Crisp provided a spark at the top of the lineup and got his team on the board first. After leading off the game with a double, Crisp came home on a sacrifice fly by Jed Lowrie to give Oakland a quick 1-0 lead.

It looked as if the A’s would extend their lead in the bottom of the third when Josh Donaldson doubled with one out, but he was thrown out trying to score on an infield single by Yoenis Cespedes. Donaldson took the mistake to heart:

“For some reason, I thought I heard ‘go,’ and I know it wasn’t [third base coach Mike Gallego] because as soon as I took two steps he was saying, ‘stay here, stay here,’ and it ended up being a really bad play for us, and for myself. It was just kind of one of those things that kind of sucks.”

Despite having a solid season, Bartolo Colon (14-6, 2.90 ERA) struggled over the next four innings as Texas took the lead and never looked back.

Mitch Moreland tied the game at one with a solo shot in the fourth inning. Five of his 22 home runs this season have come against the Athletics.

The fifth inning, once again, spelled the end for Colon. With one out, Craig Gentry reached base after hitting a ball off of Colon that went for an E1.

Jurickson Profar followed with an RBI double before Ian Kinsler singled and Adrian Beltre knocked in another run with a groundout.

A.J. Pierzynski singled to bring home Kinsler and give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. The damage could’ve been worse, but Michael Choice – who later collected his first Major League hit – made a diving catch in right field to end the inning.

Tuesday night marked the fourth start in a row that Colon failed to make it out of the fifth inning. After allowing eight hits and four runs – although only one earned run – and striking out three with just 87 pitches, he’s now 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA during that span.

Despite the tough stretch, manager Bob Melvin was encouraged by what he saw from his starter:

“It’s not like they knocked him around. Quite a few bloops hits, hit the one home run. But at 80+ pitches, the guy took a ball off the hand, I just didn’t think it was wise to push him any further at that point.”

The sixth inning brought more stellar Athletics defense when Donaldson managed to hold on to a foul pop-up after a diving catch between the tarp and the stands.

Texas added a cushion in the eighth inning on a solo shot to center field off the bat of Alex Rios against Jesse Chavez.

Oakland plays 17 of its final 24 against its Western Division rivals. Since May 10, they’ve gone 20-23 against the AL West after starting the season 13-3 against their own division. They’ll look to re-tie the Rangers for first-place on Wednesday afternoon as Jarrod Parker takes on Yu Darvish.

Notes

Rangers starter Martin Perez (9-3, 3.41 ERA) went seven innings for the win. …  The A’s lost for just the third time in their last 11 games. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak and the A’s are currently 4-1 on this ten game homestand. … Colon allowed more than seven hits for the first time since July 14. … Cespedes recorded his third straight two-hit game, has hit safely in six of last seven games, and is hitting .370 (10 for 27) over that span. …Crisp has scored at least one run in six straight games.


Follow @SFBay and @JenCosgriff on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Athletics.