A's bust it open in eighth, sweep Rangers at home

A's bust it open in eighth, sweep Rangers at home


OAKLAND -- Texas starter A.J. Griffin gave up back-to-back home runs in the second inning and retired only 10 batters, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Rangers 8-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Shin-Soo Choo hit his 16th home run and the Rangers added an unearned run but managed little else against A's starter Jharel Cotton and three relievers.

The loss dropped Texas three games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.

Adding to the Rangers' woes was uncertainty over where they'll play next.

Texas is scheduled to begin a three-game series against the Astros in Houston on Tuesday, but those plans were on hold because of severe flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey. The Rangers will fly to Dallas - as will the Astros - until Major League Baseball figures out what to do.

Griffin (6-5) beat the A's on April 17 but didn't last long against his former club this time. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits, struck out three and walked three before manager Jeff Banister pulled him after Griffin gave up a one-out double to Bruce Maxwell in the fourth.

The Rangers didn't offer much offensive support.

Choo's home run marked the first time someone other than Adrian Beltre had an RBI against the A's in the series. Elvis Andrus added a run-scoring single in the eighth but Mike Napoli lined into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Cotton (7-10) matched his career high of nine strikeouts, allowed one unearned run and pitched four-hit ball over six innings to win consecutive starts for the second time this season.

Blake Treinen retired five batters for his seventh save.

Matt Olson, the A's rookie first baseman who spent most of the year in the minors, hit his ninth home run in 35 games off Griffin in the second. Two pitches later, Matt Chapman connected for his 10th.


Rangers: LHP Jake Diekman will pitch for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday while continuing a comeback from three abdominal operations.

Athletics: INF Jed Lowrie exited with a bruised left shin in the sixth. . RHP Paul Blackburn is scheduled for an MRI on his right hand. Blackburn was hit by a line drive off the bat of Baltimore's Trey Mancini on Tuesday.


Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (9-10, 5.00 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener against the Astros following an off day Monday. Perez has won four straight after dropping three consecutive games.

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (3-6, 5.49) continues his up-and-down season Monday at the Los Angeles Angels.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts. 

Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?


Who can we blame for epidemic of teams losing three straight elimination games?

Fox’ Matt Vasgersian, who does his job well,  declared the New York Yankees’ American League Division Series win over Cleveland to be amazing.

It is not. Not any more.

In fact, the Yankees winning three elimination games in succession is a feat that has happened seven times in the past three years. And we can only conclude from that that they’re not making teams that can avoid the bad beat the way they used to.

The 2017 Indians joined the 2016 Indians, Warriors and Thunder, the 2015 Clippers, Capitals and Texas Rangers, the 2014 Penguins and Sharks, the 2013 Red Wings, the 2012 Reds and Cardinals, the 2011 Penguins, the 2010 Bruins and Capitals as proud laryngectomy victims – teams that needed to win only one of three (or in the Sharks’ case, four) games to advance in the playoffs (or in the Warriors’ case, win).

That’s 15 times this “amazing” thing has happened, which means that by any estimate, teams that needed to win three consecutive games to escape the icy hand of Uncle Death are now pretty much the norm in this decade.

And why, you ask? I blame Twitter. I blame global warming. I blame video games. I blame smartphones. I blame phones. I blame the new president. I blame the old president. I blame Satan. I blame participation trophies and orange slices and juice boxes. I blame the players and I blame the owners and I blame the fans and definitely those smarmy bastards in the media. They’re the worst.

I blame you. Hell, I think I blame Matt Vasgersian.

But whomever is at fault, we have here an epidemic of feet strangling their owners when everything seems their cheeriest. And unless we live in such misery-enriched times that good times are only precursors to far worse ones, there is no sensible explanation. Players’ windpipes are no smaller than they were a decade ago. The Internet is older than seven years. Close-out games are not materially more difficult than they were before 2010.

And yet winning that one extra game is suddenly like finding out your SAT test has been written totally in anagrams. In other words, when things look brightest, that’s when you know you’re totally screwed.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Terry Francona. In a few weeks maybe. Not right away. Not unless you’re keen to see how it feels to have your neck used as a bathmat.