The Oakland Athletics are coming off their first series win in two weeks as they return to the East Bay to battle the Texas Rangers on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.
Left-hander Martin Perez (3-2, 1.64 ERA) will start Thursday for Texas against Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas (2-4, 3.55).
The A’s head home after capturing the final two games of a three-game set in Seattle, capped by a 4-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon. Oakland got home runs by Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus plus 5 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit pitching by Paul Blackburn.
The Athletics had dropped 13 straight games against Seattle before earning a 7-5 win on Tuesday.
Oakland is just 4-6 in the past 10 games but returns home with a bit of momentum, having scored 34 runs in the past eight contests. The rate of 4.3 runs per game is significantly better than the club’s 3.4 average for the season. Still, the A’s have won just two of their past 10 series.
“Everybody is doing the little things,” Brown said after the Wednesday win. “There’s no selfish at-bats going on out there right now. When runners need to be moved over, everybody wants to get that runner over and just get the next guy up. When we’re all firing like that, we’re going to put runs on the board.”
A’s closer Dany Jimenez pitched a perfect ninth inning on Wednesday to earn his 10th save, tops among major league rookies. Jimenez has allowed just three runs (one earned) through 18 1/3 innings.
Montas lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his most recent start, Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, after getting hit on the hand by a line drive. He had dropped his past three decisions and is winless in his past six starts.
In nine career games (six starts) vs. the Rangers, Montas is 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA.
Texas moves up the coast to Oakland after a 7-2 win over the Angels on Wednesday that allowed the Rangers to snap a three-game losing streak and spilt the two-game series.
The Rangers racked up 10 hits Wednesday, four for extra bases. Kole Calhoun had a two-run home run and a double, Mitch Garver also homered, and Marcus Semien had a triple. Texas finished a nine-game stretch against the American League West-leading Houston Astros and Los Angeles at 5-4.
“Looking back at the four games we lost in that stretch — we could have won all of them,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “That’s where we need to be, putting pressure on teams every night, giving ourselves a chance to win. We’ve been fighting hard against great teams that have been as hot as they can be, and we will take that momentum on to Oakland.”
Perez produced his best pitching performance of the year in his most recent start, going the distance in a 3-0 win at Houston on Friday. He allowed eight hits and a walk while striking out five. The victory was Perez’s third in as many outings.
It was the Rangers’ first complete game this season. Perez has four complete games in his career, though Friday’s effort was his first since 2014.
Perez will attempt to improve on his mediocre history vs. the Athletics: 8-7 with a 4.88 ERA in 20 games (19 starts).
–Field Level Media