The Texas Rangers, who are enjoying a nice run of clutch hitting, will look to continue that success when they face the host Oakland Athletics on Saturday in the third contest of a four-game series.
The Rangers will send left-hander Taylor Hearn (2-3, 5.77 ERA) to the mound. He will be opposed by Oakland left-hander Zach Logue (2-3, 4.43).
Hearn is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA in six career outings, two of them starts, against Oakland. Logue, a rookie, will be making his first career appearance against the Rangers.
The Rangers captured the first two games of this series, most recently winning 8-5 on Friday. Texas trailed 5-2 heading to the seventh inning but roared back with six runs.
The game was tied at 5-5 in the ninth until pinch hitter Andy Ibanez ripped a two-out, two-run single to give the Rangers the lead. Marcus Semien followed with a single to add an insurance run.
“Coming back the way we did it gives us a ton of confidence,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said postgame. “Not every game is gonna work out the way we wanted. We give ourselves a chance, and anytime you do that, you know you can come back in games.”
Matt Moore earned the win for Texas in relief of Jon Gray, with Dennis Santana pitching a perfect ninth for his first major league save.
Texas pounded out 13 hits off five Oakland pitchers. Six Rangers drove in runs to help the team earn its third victory in a row.
“It was definitely a big win for us,” said Kole Calhoun, who collected his 1,000th career hit in the seventh inning.
“We did a really good job all the way up and down the lineup and put up six runs the last three innings off a good bullpen.”
The Athletics’ relief corps got roughed up for the second straight game. On Thursday, the bullpen wasted a sterling effort by Frankie Montas, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball while striking out 11. The Friday meltdown cost Cole Irvin a win after he fired 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs (two earned).
Oakland is now 16-2 this season when leading after seven innings.
Ramon Laureano was in the lineup for Oakland on Friday for the second straight contest after missing three of the Athletics’ previous five games with an injured hand. Laureano had a hit, an RBI, a walk, a stolen base and a run in the Friday loss.
Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said it’s a balance to make sure players are ready to return from injury.
“All players want to be on the field, first and foremost,” Kotsay said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I understand the balance, I think, and do my best to be patient — knowing that when guys come back from injury too soon, it can impact them and linger.”
Laureano is now 10-for-55 (.182) since his return from a PED suspension on May 8.
Logue was roughed up in his most recent start, allowing seven runs on six hits (three of them home runs) and four walks in just 4 2/3 innings at Seattle on Monday. Prior to that loss, Logue had allowed just four total runs in his previous three starts.
Kotsay will be away from the Athletics for Saturday’s game to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Bench coach Brad Ausmus will serve as the acting manager.
–Field Level Media