OAKLAND, Calif. — Kendall Graveman threw seven strong innings, Matt Olson hit a two-run homer and the Oakland Athletics delivered a blow to the Texas Rangers’ wild-card playoff hopes with a 4-1 victory on Friday night at Oakland Coliseum.
The Rangers (76-77) fell 3 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, who defeated Detroit 7-3, for the second wild-card spot in the American League. Texas remained tied with the Los Angeles Angels.
The A’s (70-83) won their fifth straight game and defeated Texas at the Coliseum for the sixth consecutive time.
Olson hit his 24th homer of the season in the second inning. He has six home runs in his past seven games. Marcus Semien went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs for the A’s.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a solo home run in the third inning, his 21st shot of the season, for the Rangers. Adrian Beltre had his 22nd double of the season.
Graveman (6-4) allowed one run and six hits with four strikeouts and three walks. He improved to 3-0 against the Rangers this season and is 5-0 overall at the Coliseum. Graveman was well rested going into his start. He pitched two shutout innings in his previous start at Philadelphia on Sept. 16 but did not return after a long rain delay.
Graveman escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, striking out Rougned Odor to end the threat. Graveman had allowed a single to Nomar Mazara and a double to Beltre then walked Carlos Gomez.
Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez (3-7) allowed four runs (three earned) and five hits in six innings. He struck out six , walked one and threw 79 pitches. Martinez hasn’t won a decision since June 25 against the Yankees.
Oakland’s Chris Hatcher pitched a perfect eighth inning. In the ninth, Blake Treinen allowed an infield single to Brett Nicholas and a double to Drew Robinson with two outs, but he struck out Choo on three pitches for his for 10th save of the season.
The A’s took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Khris Davis led off with a walk and Olson followed with a home run. Olson lined Martinez’ 1-2 fastball into the right field seats.
Texas cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1 in the top of the third on Choo’s towering home run down the left field line off Graveman.
The A’s answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.
Marcus Semien reached base with one out on an error by third baseman Drew Robinson, stole second and scored on Jed Lowrie’s two-out single.
Oakland extended its lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning when Semien doubled to left center with one out and scored on Matt Joyce’s single to center.
NOTES: Rangers CF Carlos Gonzalez appeared in his third game and made his second straight start after missing nine games with a sprained right ankle. ... A’s CF Boog Powell had an MRI on Friday morning that showed a bone bruise but no ligament damage in his left knee. Powell was hurt on Sept. 16 against Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park while trying to climb the center field wall to make a catch on a home run. ... Oakland C Bruce Maxwell is going through the concussion protocol and missed Friday night’s game. Maxwell left Oakland’s game on Wednesday at Detroit in the bottom of the ninth inning after taking a hard foul tip off his mask. ... A’s RHP Jharel Cotton (strained groin) threw a bullpen on Friday and will start Sunday in the series finale against Texas. Cotton was scratched from his last schedule start on Sept. 18 at Detroit after being injured while warming up.