With the bullpen unable to hold a lead granted them by a solid start from Andrew Triggs and a perfect 3-for-3 afternoon from third baseman Healy, the A’s needed late-game heroics from a pair of youngsters to claim victory.
Overcoming an error by the normally sure-handed Yonder Alonso, giving speedy Texas lead-off man Delino DeShields a free base, Triggs worked out of a first inning jam allowing just one unearned run. And his offense, including the first baseman, immediately responded.
Following a single by Alonso, the second-year slugger Healy pulverized a two-run home run over the berm in straight-away left field. But a base running gaffe by clean-up man Khris Davis brought the frame to a premature end, as he was caught wondering a mite far from second by Rangers catcher Brett Hayes.
Healy was on the front end of a run-scoring rally in the third, when he launched a boomin double into the left-center field gap immediately before Davis did the same, atoning for his earlier blunder.
In his third trip to the plate Healy once again cashed in, driving Rajai Davis home with a single up the middle. Healy’s 3-hit outing pushed his average this spring .350. The homer was his second.
A middle-inning rush from Texas, plating five runs between the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, put the home team behind 6-5. The Rangers added another reclaiming the lead in the eighth, after a run-scoring wild pitch tied the game in the seventh.
As they have shown a knack for doing this spring, though, the Oakland offense came alive once again late.
Pinch-hitting, Renato Nunez followed a Yairo Munoz walk with a game-tying homer in the bottom of the eighth. A walk again laid the groundwork in the ninth, this one worked by Matt Chapman. Then came Schrock, a 22-year-old infield prospect acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Marc Rzepczynski trade, who turned around a Sam Wolff first-pitch offering for an opposite-field double.
All told, the A’s piled up 14 hits to the Rangers 13 but drew six walks while issuing just one. Oakland finished 2016 with the American League’s worst on-base percentage (.304) largely due to the team’s inability to work walks (442).
The green and gold get right back to work on Sunday, as they host the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs.