Athletics

A's hit three homers, but get swept after allowing four late runs

A's hit three homers, but get swept after allowing four late runs

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A sweeping comeback for the Texas Rangers, who suddenly have the longest winning streak in the major leagues.

Nomar Mazara had the tiebreaking RBI single, the second game in a row he had the go-ahead hit in the seventh inning, and the Rangers wrapped up a week filled with comebacks in a 6-4 win over Oakland on Sunday.

"We're seeing some results now," Mazara said after the three-game sweep of the Athletics that gave the Rangers six wins in a row.

"We believe everything is back on track," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We knew as a team we weren't playing the way we know how we know we can play."

Mazara's two-out single that made it 5-4 came right after Andrus' tying RBI double, both off reliever Ryan Madson (0-3).

Since coming home after an 11-0 win at San Diego last Tuesday, the Rangers have come from behind to win their last five games. That included game-ending three-run homers Thursday and Friday before Andrus and Mazara had consecutive two-RBI hits in the seventh inning Saturday night against the A's.

"Anytime you put wins together, there's a lot of momentum. There's a lot of feel-good," manager Jeff Banister said. "We knew that this offense would get going at some point."

Carlos Gomez had three hits, including a single to start the seventh, but left the game with a right hamstring strain after scoring from second base on Delino DeShields' two-out infield single that chased Oakland starter Kendall Graveman.

DeShields hit a slicing chopper that third baseman Trevor Plouffe fielded near the line with Gomez running in front of him. The speedy DeShields beat the throw to first, and Gomez kept running and scored when he lunged toward the plate while also avoiding a bat still on the ground.

"I was going full speed and I didn't want to try to slide because I thought I could get hurt and I accelerated again," said Gomez, who will have an MRI on Monday, an off day at home for the Rangers.

Dario Alvarez (2-0) got the final outs of the seventh for the Rangers. Sam Dyson pitched the eighth before Matt Bush worked the ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Plouffe, Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce all homered for the A's, who have gone deep 16 times their last eight games.

Joyce hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Rangers starter A.J. Griffin for a 4-2 lead. That came after Rosales led off with a shot that just cleared the 14-foot wall in left field and Rajai Davis then doubled.

"It's frustrating that for roughly two-thirds of the game we had the upper hand on it and then we lose it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We feel good about all our guys in our bullpen. Kendall pitched for us today, it just got away from us again at the end."

NOT ANOTHER NO-NO BID

The Rangers were held hitless by Graveman on April 8 until Mike Napoli's homer with two outs in the seventh inning. This time, DeShields, Andrus and Mazara had consecutive singles to start the first, when Texas quickly went ahead 2-0. "The good news for me is bounce back after the first," Graveman said. "I didn't lose my composure."

LESS SUPPORT

Rangers starter A.J. Griffin trailed 4-2 when he left the game in the sixth, after allowing all three homers. He was coming off a four-hit shutout in his hometown of San Diego in his last start, the first win in the Rangers streak. This was the first time in Griffin's six starts this season that he got fewer than five runs from the offense while pitching.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Melvin said RHP Daniel Mengden, out all season recovering from right foot surgery, is getting the kinks out but has good velocity and feels good in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP John Axford (strained right shoulder) is expected to get at least one more rehab appearance. He could rejoin the A's sometime soon after they get home Thursday.

Rangers: RF/DH Shin-Soo Choo had spasms in his lower back and was scratched from the lineup.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Sean Manaea (1-2) is set to come off the disabled list to start Monday night at Seattle.

Rangers: After a day off Monday, the Rangers open a three-game series at home Tuesday with Yu Darvish (3-2) facing the Philadelphia Phillies.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

A's Media Services 

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.