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September 16, 2013

What You Need to Know

The A's Sweep Away Texas

by Daniel Rathman


The Weekend Takeaway
With a chance to complete a decisive sweep and pad a commanding lead in the American League West, the Athletics gave the Rangers a fighting chance.

Scheduled starter Jarrod Parker, unbeaten since May 22, was scratched with an illness. Tommy Milone, who entered with a 4.96 ERA in 14 road outings, and whom the Rangers thumped for six runs in 3 2/3 innings on August 2, took his place. Yoenis Cespedes, who opened the series with a three-run first-inning homer on Friday, was sidelined by a shoulder ailment. Nate Freiman, a much less powerful hitter, took his place as the DH.

But on the heels of a 1-0 Athletics victory on Saturday, in which Bartolo Colon outdueled Yu Darvish, Sunday brought more of the same. The Rangers had chances in the middle match, yet they stranded eight and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, as Colon and Grant Balfour kept an early 1-0 edge intact. They had even more opportunities in the finale, but left 10 on base and went 1-for-10 with RISP. A.J. Pierzynski’s first-inning RBI single did not even match the two-run blast by Josh Donaldson in the top half of the frame. And the A’s, who got long balls from Chris Young in the third and Josh Reddick in the ninth, had four more runs in the tank.

The pitching staff, aided by Milone, became the first group in franchise history to hold the Rangers homerless in a series at Texas’ current home yard. And in tandem with the Pirates—who swept the Rangers in Arlington before the A’s came to town—they dealt the Rangers their first-ever winless homestand of six or more games.

Bob Melvin credited Milone for limiting Texas to one run in five innings despite making his first start since August 27 on short notice. Milone said the last-minute assignment worked to his advantage. In any event, he did plenty to help the A’s cap off a 5-1 road trip with their fifth straight win and to send the Rangers tumbling to their sixth consecutive defeat. The top two teams in the American League West are going in opposite directions, and now that Ron Washington’s club has failed in its bid to reverse both of their courses, it’s going to need to complete its own U-turn and hope for help from the Angels and Twins.

The A’s, who are 16-4 in their last 20, welcome those two sub-.500 crews to the O.co Coliseum this week during their last homestand of the regular season, a seven-gamer, which begins with their magic number down to eight. The Rangers head to Tampa Bay for four and Kansas City for three, a tough slate that could endanger their wild card hopes if the bats stay as dormant as they were on Saturday and Sunday.

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<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Se... (09/16)
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