Ramon Laureano led off two innings with home runs and Marcus Semien contributed a two-run homer to a four-run second Friday night, propelling the Oakland Athletics to an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series in Oakland, Calif.
A fourth win in their last five games allowed the A’s (85-57) to keep pace with the Houston Astros (88-53) in the American League West and the New York Yankees (88-53) in the AL wild-card race. Oakland remains 3 1/2 games behind in each pursuit.
Laureano hit the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first from Yovani Gallardo (8-4) over the fence in left field to give the A’s a lead they never relinquished.
Semien’s homer, his 12th of the season, made it 3-0 in the second, after which Matt Chapman had a two-RBI single that made it a four-run inning and a five-run lead.
Joey Gallo got Texas within 5-2 in the fourth with his 35th home run, a two-run shot off Oakland’s second pitcher, Chris Bassitt.
But the A’s responded in the sixth with three more runs, including one when Laureano connected on his second homer of the night and fifth of the season to lead off the inning. Matt Olson and Stephen Piscotty capped the uprising with RBI singles, the latter making it 8-2.
The Rangers added runs on RBI doubles by Ronald Guzman in the seventh and Gallo in the eighth, but got no closer than 8-4 against the Oakland bullpen.
Right-hander Liam Hendriks started the game for the A’s and went just one shutout inning. Oakland’s third pitcher, Yusmeiro Petit (7-3), was credited with the win after working scoreless fifth and sixth innings.
Gallardo took the loss, allowing five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked five and struck out three.
Laureano, Semien and Jonathan Lucroy had two hits apiece, while Laureano, Semien and Chapman collected two RBIs each for the A’s, who beat Texas for the 11th time in 17 meetings this season.
Gallo drove in three runs with a single, double and homer for the Rangers, who lost for the third time in their last four games.
—Field Level Media