In what was their most complete offensive performance of the season, “The Swingin’ A’s” swatted 17 hits, with two of them clearing the Coliseum’s outfield wall. Serving up eight hits and six runs, Ranger starting pitcher Cesar Ramos was handed a loss for his 3-2/3 innings of work.
Despite receiving the most run support of his young career, starting pitcher Sean Manaea was not credited with the win, as a left pronator muscle injury forced him into an early departure with one out in the fifth.
Daniel Coulombe (W, 1-0, 5.06 ERA) earned his first career major-league win, allowing two runs in 1-2/3 innings of relief work. Getting the final nine outs, Zach Neal (0-1, 9.00 ERA) was rewarded his first career save.
After the game an especially jovial Bob Melvin spoke about the career firsts of his two young relievers:
“It was nice to get Zach three innings, I’m sure he has not been in too many save situations. And Daniel got a beer shower for having his first win, so I know he’s enjoying that right now. He’s probably a little cold, but he’s enjoying that.”
Although the celebration didn’t come until late, the onslaught began almost immediately as Oakland lead-off man Coco Crisp sent the fourth pitch of the game into center field triggering three consecutive hits back up the middle. The A’s were only able to wrangle a single run with the rally, but the approach left its mark on the game.
The skipper said that staying in the center of the diamond was the approach:
“A lot of times our approach is to go back up the middle. When you have a guy that throws a wide assortment of breaking pitches what he’s trying to do is get you out front, so you want to let the ball travel and set your sights the other way.”
Six of the eight hits Ramos (L, 1-3, 4.88 ERA) was saddled with came on pitches returned back up the middle, with a home run by Khris Davis (15) to left field serving as one of the two exceptions.
After saying that the key to this type of success is producing good at-bats up and down the lineup, Davis joked that it was nice to know he still had power despite dealing with an ailing elbow:
“I hit it and I was like, ‘yeah, thank God, I can still hit it hard.'”
A suddenly patient A’s offense added to the back-where-it-came from attack, and power swings from Davis and catcher Josh Phegley, by drawing five walks — all of which issued by Ramos.
When Texas manager Jeff Banister finally did lasso the lefty, he made the call to reliever Tom Wilhelmsen (2-3, 10.55 ERA). The former Seattle Mariner closer was hammered to the tune of six runs and nine hits, while getting just three outs.
Entering the fray in the fourth, Wilhelmsen was smacked for the final three hits and two runs — both coming on Phegley’s first homer of the season — of a five-run rally that began with none on and two outs.
Leading the charge for the Green and Gold was Davis who finished with two hits and five RBIs (42). The left fielder also joined Crisp and Danny Valencia with three runs scored apiece. Jake Smolinski and Marcus Semien added three hits each, while Yonder Alonso was the only starter to not have a hit for the home town A’s, although he did provide an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
The A’s lineup combined to go an unfathomable 9-for-14 (.643) with runners in scoring position, after the situation had been their undoing during their previous 1-7 road trip.
With the unrelenting attack, Oakland proved to Texas — who scored four of their five runs via home runs — that bigger isn’t always better, as the Rangers out-homered the A’s 3-2 in the loss.
Manaea (2-4, 6.02 ERA) was particularly effective, allowing just one hit while striking out four through the first three frames. In the fourth, though, he experienced some discomfort in his left forearm, but was able to power through it allowing just one run. Then, after serving up a one-out homer in the fifth he was removed with what was diagnosed as a strain to the pronator teres muscle — which is located in the forearm near the elbow.
The lefty said that he first experienced the tightness after throwing a bullpen session in Cincinnati. Adding that he doesn’t expect it to affect him for more than a day or two. Though he did add that there was an obvious fear of the “TJ word”:
“It’s good news for me … It was just kind of there. I wasn’t really worried about it, then the fourth inning came around and I just felt it kind of tighten.”
Manaea is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday. His teammates are scheduled for another showdown with the AL West division leading Rangers. Melvin will hand the ball to Eric Surkamp (0-3, 6.41 ERA) to face Martin Perez (5-4, 3.22 ERA).