Chad Pinder threw out Elvis Andrus at the plate while trying to score on Nomar Mazara’s single to right field in the seventh inning Saturday night, short-circuiting a Texas Rangers rally and allowing the host Oakland Athletics to hold on for a 5-4 victory.
The win was the A’s first of the four-game series after 11-3 and 5-2 losses, and came after home runs by Mark Canha, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano had produced a 5-0 lead.
But the Rangers finally solved A’s starter Homer Bailey and the Oakland bullpen in a four-run seventh, and narrowly missed drawing even on Mazara’s two-out hit.
But Pinder, who had just three previous outfield assists in his four seasons with the A’s, gunned down Andrus to preserve a 5-4 lead.
New A’s closer Liam Hendriks then pitched around a two-out single by Danny Santana in the ninth for his ninth save.
The Texas seventh began innocently enough with two outs sandwiching an Asdrubal Cabrera single against Bailey, who had allowed just four hits in six shutout innings.
But Jeff Mathis then doubled and Santana tripled, the latter driving in the first two Rangers runs and ending Bailey’s night.
Willie Calhoun greeted left-hander Ryan Buchter with a double to make it 5-3, and when Andrus singled off righty Yusmeiro Petit, scoring Calhoun, all of a sudden the Rangers were within a run.
Making his third start for the A’s, Bailey (9-7) got his second win, charged with three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
All four Oakland home runs, producing all five runs, came off Rangers starter Adrian Sampson (6-8), who gave up six hits in six innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
The homers by Canha (his 17th), Semien (16th) and Laureano (21st) were solo shots and came in the second, third and sixth innings, respectively. Chapman’s homer, his 23rd, followed a Semien single in the fifth.
Semien and Laureano finished with two hits apiece for the A’s, who had lost three straight.
Mazara collected three hits, while Andrus, playing a day after formally becoming a United States citizen, and Santana had two apiece for the Rangers, who lost for the sixth time in nine outings on a 10-game trip.
The Rangers outhit the A’s 11-6.
—Field Level Media