Athletics Mount Comeback Over Rangers in Opener

Athletics Rangers
(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Athletics 5, Rangers 4

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Apr 21) — The Oakland Athletics managed to climb out of an early hole to beat the Texas Rangers by a final score of 5–4 on Friday night. A flurry of base hits, several wild pitches, and home runs by Tony Kemp and Jordan Diaz led the Athletics to their fourth victory of the season. The next game of this three-game series is set for Saturday at 6:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Right-hander Shintaro Fujinami (0–3, 11.37 ERA) will get the start for the Athletics. The Rangers will counter with lefty Andrew Heaney (1–1, 4.97 ERA).

Rangers’ Offense

The Rangers got off to an early start in the bottom of the first. Robbie Grossman scored on a one-out single to left by Adolis Garcia. Two batters later, Jonah Heim made it 4–0 with a three-run shot to center, plating Garcia and Nathaniel Lowe in the process. It marked the fourth home run of the young season for Heim, who came into this contest hitting .311. Athletics starter JP Sears pitched six innings, giving up all four of the Rangers’ runs (all earned) on five hits. He struck out 11, walked two, and allowed the home run to Heim. Righty Zach Jackson got the win for the A’s. He pitched one inning, and gave up one hit. His record for 2023 is now 1–1 with an ERA of 1.86. Jeurys Familia recorded the save, his first of the season.

Athletics Fight Back

The Athletics began to claw their way back into the game in the top of the fourth. A force out that was grounded into by Aledmys Diaz brought in their first run. It allowed designated hitter Brent Rooker to score. In the top of the fifth, the Athletics cut the Rangers’ 4–1 lead in half on a solo homer to right-center by left fielder Tony Kemp. A wild pitch from Rangers starter Jon Gray brought in shortstop Kevin Smith.

The Athletics tied it up in the top of the sixth. Right fielder Conner Capel crossed the plate on a single to left by center-fielder Esteury Ruiz. The Athletics completed their comeback over the Rangers with a solo home run to left hit by Jordan Diaz. It not only sealed the win for the A’s but marked Diaz’ first home run in the major leagues. It was quite a night for the visiting A’s.

Jon Gray’s Night

Right-hander Jon Gray did not factor into the decision of his fourth start of the season (ND, 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R-3 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR). Gray struggled with his command throughout the night, as he issued a career high-tying five walks (4x, last 7/14/19 against the Washington Nationals as a member of the Colorado Rockies). He hit a batter and threw 52 of 92 (56.5%) pitches for strikes. Friday marked his lowest strike pct. in any outing (min. 80 pitches) since 6/30/21 against the Pittsburgh Pirates while he was with the Rockies (54.7%, 95-52).

Postgame Comments

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was asked what he saw after the first inning that led to the loss. He said “Their guys settled down. He (Sears) pitched good. When you get 11 strikeouts, that feels good. He started hitting his spots, and started logging strikeouts. We just couldn’t get much going off him. You have to give him credit. He was probably a batter away from leaving that ballgame, and he ended up pitching a really good game.”

A somber Jon Gray also commented on his outing after the game, saying “It’s hard to put into words how bad it was, in every aspect. It really boils down to mechanics for me. My last outing, I felt pretty good, but that wasn’t the case this time.” After he mentioned mechanics, Gray was asked what he thought went wrong in that area. He replied by saying “It seemed a little herky jerky, and I feel like I rushed my windup in certain spots. It just wasn’t a good night for me, and I have to learn from these things for my next start.”


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