A’s miscues seal loss to last-place Rangers

O.CO COLISEUM — After a feel-good weekend and a day off Monday, the A’s seemed confident once again entering Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.

What followed was an expensive comedy of errors, which Texas ended up winning 6-3 to keep Oakland and their fans in playoff suspense with just a one-game lead on Seattle for the final AL Wild Card spot.

There were throws wide of first, throws too tall for first basemen and throws that traveled from home into center. Tuesday night was neither team’s best defensive effort, but the A’s, who ended up with two errors, made mental mistakes throughout the evening.

The mistakes extended Oakland’s streak to six straight games with an error, committing eight overall in that span.

Bob Melvin said his team got beat all-around Tuesday night:

“It was disappointing more than it was frustrating. We just didn’t look like we were ready to play tonight for whatever reason defensively.”

Starter Scott Kazmir (L, 14-9, 4-1/3 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs, 4 earned) echoed his manager’s statements regarding the team not looking ready to play:

“That’s exactly what it looked like.”

To the Rangers’ credit, they utilized their relatively no-name, speedy lineup incredibly well, and consistently used their speed to put pressure on the Athletics’ defense, which was not up to the task.


Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

The scoring started in the top of the fourth when Ryan Rua reached base on an infield single and was driven in on Jake Smolinski‘s first major league home run to deep left-center.

Following the homer, Rougned Odor reached on an infield single. Daniel Robertson hit a high chopper over the head of first baseman Brandon Moss, scoring the speedy Odor from first for a 3-0 Texas bulge. The throw from Reddick went to second to nail Robertson trying to stretch his base hit into a double.

The A’s answered in the bottom of the fourth when Adam Dunn stroked a two-out double to deep right-center, followed by consecutive walks to Moss and Lowrie to load the bases for Josh Reddick. A sac fly to deep center plating Dunn for the A’s first run.

Derek Norris followed up the sac fly with an infield single, which Ranger shortstop Elvis Andrus threw away to score Moss to close the gap to 3-2.Eric Sogard would ground out to the shortstop to end the inning.

Aided by a throwing error by Jed Lowrie, Texas rallied for three more runs in the fifth for a stout 6-2 lead.

In the sixth inning, Moss celebrated his 31st birthday by crushing a Nick Tepesch (W, 4-10, 4.47 ERA) fastball deep into the right field bleachers for the A’s final run of the evening.

Moss said of his recent turnaround:

“I’ve been feeling a lot better lately. It’s just a matter of swinging at good pitches, and not missing good pitches. You get less and less fastballs because you hit fastballs well, you’re still going to get one now and then, so don’t miss it when you get it.”

The stinging loss — especially against the last-place Rangers — leaves the A’s with a one-game lead over Kansas City for the first wild-card spot and two games up on Seattle for the second.

Jeff Samardzija (4-5, 3.41 ERA) is slated to start opposite Derek Holland (1-0, 0.86) for the Rangers in a 7:05 p.m. first pitch at the Coliseum.

Notes

The A’s are 7-14 in their last 21 games, and 10-21 in their last 31. … After a 39-game homerless streak, Brandon Moss (25) hit a home run for the second consecutive game. … Scott Kazmir is 0-4 with a 8.21 ERA over his last five starts. … The Texas Rangers won their fourth consecutive game for the first time since April 19. … Attendance was 19,835, the second-lowest total in MLB for Tuesday’s games. Only the Minnesota Twins — 20 games out in the AL Central — drew fewer fans than Oakland.