An Adolis García one-out double in the top of the night inning Thursday night broke a tie as the Texas Rangers went on to a 4-1 victory at the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a four-game series.
Pitching dominated for much of the night for both the Rangers (20-23) and A's (19-28), especially from starters Martín Pérez (Texas) and Frankie Montas (Oakland).
But in the top of the ninth, García sparked a three-run outburst that was punctuated by Nathaniel Lowe’s home run.
Jonah Heim’s one-out single put him on base for García, and Rangers manager Chris Woodward lifted Heim for pinch-runner Eli White. García drilled an offering from A’s reliever Lou Trivino to left field, with White easily scoring from first.
After breaking the tie, Lowe took care of the rest. The A’s flipped Sam Moll for Trivino, and Lowe sent a 1-2 pitch into the right-field seats to bring home García and make it 4-1.
That was enough for closer Sam Barlow to claim his eighth save of the season. Barlow worked around issuing a leadoff walk, thanks to a double play turned by shortstop Corey Seager.
Matt Bush (2-1) picked up the win in relief for Texas, while Trivino (1-3) took the loss for the Athletics.
Garcia went 2-for-4 with the RBI, while Kole Calhoun was the only other Ranger with two hits.
Before the ninth, Pérez and Montas put a lid on the offense, as each team scored one run. Pérez saw his road scoreless streak end at 25 innings, but he only gave up four hits, struck out six and walked two in seven innings. Montas, meanwhile, was overpowering, punching out 11 Rangers while giving up three hits and a run. He also walked two.
The Rangers scored their first run in the top of the second inning, as they loaded the bases with one out, but only came away with a run. Calhoun singled, Heim reached first on an error by former Rangers shortstop shortstop Elvis Andrus. Lowe then drew a walk from Montas.
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After Brad Miller struck out, Andy Ibáñez drew a walk to score Calhoun to give the Rangers the lead. Marcus Semien flew out to end the inning.
The Athletics tied the game in the fourth. Chad Pinder singled and Sean Murphy doubled. With runners at second and third and no one out, Pérez nearly escaped. He struck out Sheldon Neuse and got Christian Bethancourt to line out sharply to Semien.
But Pérez was unable to get Andrus, who drew a walk to load the bases. Pérez’s next pitch to Kevin Smith went in the dirt and got past Heim, which allowed Pinder to score.
Pérez then induced a groundout from Smith to end the fourth.
In the seventh, a mistake by Bethancourt cost the A’s a shot to break the tie. He bunted down the first-base line and Pérez picked up the ball and tried to make a quick throw to Lowe at first. The ball hit Bethancourt, went past Lowe and Bethancourt went to second base. But he was called out when umpires determined Bethancourt ran inside the base-running box at first and interfered with the throw.
The next hitter, Andrus, doubled. That would have scored Bethancourt. Instead, Pérez managed to strand Andrus and keep the game tied.
The Rangers face the Athletics on Friday at 8:40 p.m. CT. The scheduled starters are Jon Gray for Texas and Cole Irvin for Oakland.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard