Rangers complete sweep of collapsing A’s

O.CO Coliseum — Following Wednesday’s tough loss, Sean Doolittle warned that  Wednesday would be a turning point for the A’s — for better or worse.

On Thursday afternoon, perception became reality.

In the first inning Sonny Gray (L, 13-9, 3.28, 5 IP, 5 runs, 4 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts) gave up five hits, plating four runs, three of them earned.

Coupling last night’s ninth inning with Thursday’s first, the Rangers combined to score ten runs in two innings. The lead seemed insurmountable with the A’s offense struggling to score runs of late.

The damage in the first was done on a series of four, straight, two-out hits. After Leonys Martin was retired to lead-off the game, Elvis Andrus singled to right, but was quickly erased on a Rougned Odor fielder’s choice to short.

That’s when the first-inning fun began for Texas. Adrian Beltre singled to center, pushing Odor to third. The next two batters, Jake Smolinski and Tomas Telis, each  singled to left, pushing a run across the plate while pushing the previous batter to third.

Ryan Rua broke that streak with a single to center, with the result being the same: first to third, run scores. With former Athletic Adam Rosales at the plate, Toma Telis scored on a passed ball, making it 4-0.

The A’s showed small signs of life in the third, with a leadoff walk to Derek Norris, followed by pop-outs by Alberto Callaspo (4 for his last 44, spanning 16 games) and Eric Sogard. Coco Crisp drew a walk, putting runners at first and second for Sam Fuld.

Fuld lined a ball down the right field line that dropped for a two-out, two-run triple. Those two runs would be all the A’s could muster against Texas righty, Nick Martinez (W, 4-11, 4.85, 5 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts).

The Rangers added another run in the fifth and two in the sixth, working their way to a 7-2 lead.

Bob Melvin responded to what his team needs to do in their three remaining series:

“Win. Win games. At this pace, every day we’re talking about ‘we’re still in the wild-card, still first in the wild-card. All that’s moot unless we start to play better. We’ll find ourselves in no position if we continue to lose.”

To sum it all up, 25-year old rookie Jake Smolinski was 4 for 5 Thursday, adding to his team’s total of 14. The A’s totaled 6 hits as a team.

Brandon Moss said of the clubhouse after the game:

“When you’re in a race, baseball is supposed to be fun. I don’t see anybody in this clubhouse having fun. Because it’s not.”

Oakland kicks off the first of its final three series (Phillies, Angels, Rangers) Friday against Philadelphia, with the first pitch going out at 6:35 pm.

Notes

With the loss Wendesday night, this is the first time since April 7th that Oakland is not alone in first place in the AL West or Wild Card. The A’s were 4-3 at that point in the season. … Adam Dunn went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. … Jason Hammel went 3 innings in relief, giving up three hits, inducing two double plays, and striking out four. … The Mariners (1.5 games behind A’s for second wild-card) face the Angels in Anaheim this evening, with Felix Hernandez on the mound. The Angels have scratched Jered Weaver and replaced him with Wade LeBlanc. … Attendance for Thursday’s game was 17,574.