Murphy hits two homers as Rangers outslug A’s
OAKLAND, Calif. -- What once was an 10-2 lead for the Texas Rangers against the Oakland A’s was down to 11-8 entering the top of the eighth inning Monday night at the O.co Coliseum.
Rangers first baseman Donnie Murphy, who hit a two-run homer in a six-run fourth inning, admitted he was starting to sweat.
“I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t get a little bit nervous right there when it got 11-8,” Murphy said. “The game could have easily slipped away. It seemed like they got the momentum hard. We put together some good at-bats and got a few more runs and felt a little more comfortable again. It was good to see we got a few more runs.”
The Rangers scored a run in the eighth, then two more in the ninth when Murphy and catcher Robinson Chirinos hit back-to-back solo shots, and Texas powered its way to a 14-8 victory over the A‘s.
Left fielder Michael Choice hit a two-run homer in the fifth for the Rangers, who had a 16-hit attack.
The injury-ravaged Rangers (35-35) got back to .500 and pulled to within seven games of the first-place A’s (42-28) in the American League West. The Rangers beat the A’s in Oakland for the fourth straight time this season, including a three-game sweep in April.
“They know what’s going on,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his players. “They don’t need to hear it from me. They certainly didn’t need a pep talk.”
Murphy had plenty of motivation playing his former team. He has four home runs this year, and three came against the A‘s.
“I feel like I buckled down more because it’s (my) old team,” Murphy said. “I kind of take it personal when I play an old team. I want to take it to them. It’s always fun when you do that.”
Murphy’s main position is second base, but he made his fourth start at first base, filling in for the injured Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland.
“He can do everything,” Washington said. “He bunted. He played first base, picking balls off the dirt, hitting two home runs. He can do everything. ... He has certainly been productive for us. He does have some pop in that bat, and tonight it came out for us.”
Murphy hit a two-run shot off left-hander Drew Pomeranz during a six-run fourth inning that put the Rangers ahead 8-2. Choice, another former Athletic, made it 10-2 with a two-run shot to left-center off reliever Ryan Cook in the top of the fifth.
First baseman Brandon Moss cut Oakland’s deficit to 10-3 with a solo blast in the fifth off right-hander Colby Lewis. After the Rangers scored a run in the top of the sixth, the A’s answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame as left fielder Yoenis Cespedes belted a three-run homer off left-hander Robbie Ross Jr.
Rangers relievers Neal Cotts, Jason Frasor and Ben Rowen blanked the A’s over the final 2 2/3 innings.
Lewis (5-4) got the win despite allowing five runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Pomeranz (5-4) had his worst start and shortest outing since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on May 7. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. Pomeranz went 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in his first seven starts.
“I wasn’t as sharp from the beginning,” Pomeranz said. “They were patient as hitters, and I got into bad counts. They waited for mistakes and jumped on them. I’ll get past it.”
Chirinos, Murphy and third baseman Adrian Beltre each drove in three runs for Texas. Chirinos and second baseman Rougned Odor had three hits apiece.
A’s second baseman Alberto Callaspo went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
The A’s struck for two runs off Lewis in the bottom of the first inning. Center fielder Coco Crisp led off with a double and scored on designated hitter John Jaso’s single to center as Jaso took second on the throw. Jaso moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Moss’ single.
The Rangers pulled even with two runs in the second off Pomeranz. Leading off, Beltre got on base when shortstop Jed Lowrie booted his ground ball. Murphy advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Chirinos lined a two-run single to center.
“He wasn’t as good tonight,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Pomeranz. “It was location more than anything. He had a rough outing. He’s done a good job for us.”
NOTES: Oakland RF Josh Reddick (hyperextended right knee) ran the bases pain-free before Monday night’s game, and he will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Sacramento. “Everything’s ready to go,” said Reddick, who expects to rejoin the A’s next Monday in New York and be activated Tuesday when the team opens a two-game series against the Mets. ... Texas 1B Mitch Moreland (left ankle impingement) will get a third medical opinion Tuesday from an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa. Moreland likely will undergo reconstructive surgery, which would end his season.