OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland A’s worked over Yu Darvish for six innings and 116 pitches, but Oakland simply left too many men on the bases early against the Texas ace, and that came back to haunt as the Texas Rangers took a 4-3 win Monday at the Coliseum.
Darvish, who’d lost six straight games to the A’s, was able to at least keep the A’s at bay, and that gave the Rangers time to position themselves for a win.
A’s reliever Sean Doolittle, asked to keep the game even at 3-all in the top of the eighth, was unable to do so when a couple of former A’s players, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Donnie Murphy, combined to sting their old squad.
Kouzmanoff opened with a double to right-center, and after Mitch Moreland moved him to third with a bunt, Kouzmanoff (with the A’s in 2010-11) came home on Murphy’s (2007-08) single through a drawn-in infield.
A’s starter Dan Straily got off to a somewhat stilted start when the Rangers’ first batter, Shin-Soo Choo, crushed a long homer to right-center to push Texas into an immediate lead. Straily settled in after that, long enough for the Oakland offense to get moving.
That started in the second when Brandon Moss opened with a solo homer off Darvish. Moss has been a particular nemesis of Darvish, that being the fourth homer and sixth hit off the Japanese right-hander in 16 at-bats for Moss.
One out deeper into the inning, Josh Reddick walked, and with two outs he raced around to third base on Eric Sogard’s double.
That set up Coco Crisp, who thought he had a hit down the line that was called foul. Crisp regrouped later in the at-bat to deliver a no-doubt-about-it single to left to score two runs and give the A’s a 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately for Straily, the A’s offense wasn’t able to do much more. Oakland wound up leaving men in scoring position in the first, third and fourth, a total of six men left in those three innings. The one that got away was the third, when a walk and single to open the inning signaled big things that never arrived.
The fourth inning saw the A’s leave the bases loaded, but there were two out and no one on before Oakland loaded them against Darvish, who needed 91 pitches (51 strikes) to make it through the fourth.
Straily was stung by a leadoff double that eluded Moss in left field in the fourth, and Kouzmanoff, the former A’s third baseman, delivered an RBI single. An inning later, three two-out singles, the last of them from Prince Fielder, produced a run and tied the game.
That was it for Straily, done after five innings and 84 pitches. Ryan Cook took over for the sixth and Fernando Abad in the seventh. It was an interesting inning for Abad, who took a line drive off his leg to start the inning for an apparent Choo infield hit. The A’s challenged the call, and on review, the call was overturned.
Crisp then made a stellar leaping catch in left-center for the second out before Abad slipped a called third strike past Fielder.
©2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)
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