The Oakland Athletics will look for their ninth win in 10 games when they visit the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
The teams have split the first two games of the three-games series in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers ended Oakland’s seven-game winning streak on Friday night with an 8-6 victory, and the A’s bounced back Saturday, scoring four in the seventh en route to an 8-3 win.
They are two teams heading in opposite directions. Entering play Sunday, Oakland is 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the American League West but holds the top wild-card seed in the league. As for the Rangers, they are 6-21 since the All-Star break and sit in last place in the division, 29 1/2 games behind the Astros.
The Rangers were competitive on Saturday, tied with the A’s at 3-3 before Oakland’s four-run outburst in the seventh.
“That was just unfortunate,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said of bringing starter Jordan Lyles back for the seventh, where he gave up back-to-back homers to lead off the inning. “It didn’t work out. At the end of the day, I probably would have done it again.”
One of those home runs was by Matt Chapman, who had a terrific day. The third baseman hit two solo home runs and made a spectacular diving catch racing into shallow left field to rob Brock Holt of a hit in the fifth.
“I’ve seen him do some miraculous things,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “But when that ball was hit, it’s a hit. I don’t know that anyone else gets to that.”
On Sunday, Melvin will start left-hander Sean Manaea (8-7, 3.43 ERA), who is 2-5 with a 4.18 ERA over his past nine starts dating to June 20. Before that, he was 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA.
Manaea did not factor into the decision in his most recent start, a 4-3 Oakland win in 10 innings at Cleveland on Tuesday. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings — his shortest outing of the season.
“Sean just had one of those games where he didn’t have it,” Melvin said.
In 14 career starts against the Rangers, Manaea is 7-3 with a 3.65 ERA. In his only start against Texas this season, he took the loss on July 1 after giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings.
Texas will go with lefty Kolby Allard (2-10, 4.93), who is looking for his first win since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 12.
In each of his past two starts, Allard has gone six innings and given up two runs to drop his ERA from 5.23 to 4.93. But he is 0-4 with an 8.14 ERA in his past five starts over 24 1/3 innings pitched since the All-Star break.
Allard, who will work on four days’ rest, is winless (0-5) with a 7.03 ERA in five career starts against Oakland.
This season, Allard is 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA over 18 innings against the A’s.
–Field Level Media