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Rangers jump Roark in the first, top A’s to avoid sweep

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In seven MLB season, Tanner Roark has never been able to defeat the Texas Rangers, and that includes a throttling Sunday.

His first pitch of the day to Shin-Soo Choo yielded a solo home run to center field, and two more bombs followed in the first inning alone. With an 8-3 victory, Texas (75-81) avoided a sweep at the hands of the A’s (94-62).

In a brutal first inning, Roark (L, 10-9, 4.32 ERA) faced eight Rangers, allowing five runs.

Bob Melvin explained what may have gone wrong with Roark, adding that it means nothing when it comes to trusting if he could get a job done:

“They were just on him early. We needed — a lot of times when you have a chance at a good starter, it’s early in the game and they got him before he could get into his rhythm. It is balls out of the ballpark and you get on a run a little bit so you know, unfortunately it happened but it doesn’t minimize our feelings about Tanner, he has been good for us.”

Roark was 3-0 in his five home starts in Oakland but could only last three innings. He allowed five hits, four of them being home runs and spoke about his tough first inning:

“Just a rough outing all together. They put good swings on bad pitches. I left the ball over the plate and when you do that in this league, they get hit hard and they get hit far.”

Both teams finished the game with eleven hits. The difference was, the Rangers had most of them in one inning while the A’s scattered their good at-bats and left nine men on base.

As a club, the A’s saw a seven-game winning streak against the Rangers come to an end.

Rookie A.J. Puk suffered his first scuffle as a big leaguer. He gave up a double and with two outs he allowed back-to-back base making it a 7-0 game. Ryan Buchter allowed a solo homer to the first batter he faced, Nomar Mazara. 

Bob Melvin took Puk out because of the score and said had it been a tighter game he would have left him on the mound and explained his faith in the rookie:

“He just gave up a couple hits, gave up a couple runs. We haven’t seen that from him … he has been really good, we don’t lose faith in him.”

Lance Lynn (W, 15-11, 3.76 ERA) did not experience the same difficulties. He lasted 5-1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out 12 to push his total for the season to 236, good enough for fourth-best in the AL.

Marcus Semien was once again a standout for the A’s, going 2-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. As was Chris Bassitt, who once again looked at home in his new role as a reliever, firing three scoreless innings while striking out five.

Bassitt came into the season as a starting pitcher and has explained he is ready to take on any role in the pitching rotation from an opener, a starter, a reliever or even a closer. Melvin is happy with his performance and maneuverability:

“Yeah, he looked great. We are trying to just keep them in sync and it was one inning the other night it was three today. He had all his pitches working so we got a lot of depth in our bullpen at this point, including him. Another nice outing for him and continues to be able to rest some of the guys that have pitched a little bit more this year.”

The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox 9-4 Sunday afternoon so the wild card standings remain the same as far as the Rays and A’s. The A’s still remain two games ahead of the Rays and Cleveland is a half a game behind the Rays. Cleveland plays the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday night.

On Deck

The A’s will travel to Los Angeles following an off-day Monday. Homer Bailey (13-8, 8, 4.55 ERA) will take on Dillon Peter (3-3, 4.81 ERA) Tuesday night for the first of a two-game set.

Notes

The A’s finished the season with a 52-29 home record tied for the seventh-best record in A’s history. … Jurickson Profar was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI single.

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