Right after the Oakland Athletics bounced back in a big way, the AL West leaders got yet another bit of bad news.
Marcus Semien drove in four runs, Chris Bassitt struck out eight over six innings and the A's beat the Texas Rangers 10-1 on Saturday night to get a split in their doubleheader. That followed a 5-2 loss in the opener, hours after finding out that All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman is having surgery and expected to miss the rest of the season.
“Not a surprise. Whenever we’ve run into roadblocks we’ve run into in the past, these guys seem to respond. We did it right away too,” A's manager Bob Melvin said, before revealing that infielder Chad Pinder — one of the players expected to fill in for Chapman — strained his right hamstring late in the opener and could also be headed to the injured list.
“It was a tough day, and got even tougher,” Melvin said.
The first seven A's batters reached base and scored in the second inning of Game 2. That included Semien, the sixth batter whose RBI single chased Kolby Allard (0-6).
Semien, who has played six of seven games since missing five with rib cage inflammation, made it 10-0 with his three-run homer in the fifth.
“It's tough to lose some guys, but know we have depth in the organization," Semien said. “Seems like people are stepping up when they need to, so I think we’ll be OK."
Chris Bassitt (4-2) struck out eight and scattered eight hits over six innings in the nightcap. The only run he allowed was on Joey Gallo’s ninth homer, a solo shot in the sixth.
Taylor Hearn, who replaced Allard, finally got out of the second with his third strikeout, after he walked two batters with the bases loaded.
The teams played a doubleheader to make up for the game postponed Aug. 27 in Texas when the A’s decided not to play the finale of a scheduled four-game series to support calls for racial justice.
In the opener, the Rangers quickly roughed up Daulton Jefferies (0-1) in his big league debut while their own rookie Wes Benjamin (1-0) was getting ready for his first victory.
Benjamin (1-0) was warming up in the bullpen preparing to enter in the second inning of the first game as planned behind an opener when Rougned Odor lined a three-run shot down the right field line before Elvis Andrus had a single and Ronald Guzman hit an impressive 431-foot blast to right for a 5-0 lead.
“I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t thinking about it,” Benjamin said. “But at the same time, I try not to look at the scoreboard.”
Nick Goody had retired the first three batters as the opener before Benjamin went four innings in his fifth big league game — all in relief — with four strikeouts and one walk. Rafael Montero worked a perfect seventh for his eighth save in as many tries this season, his first since Sept. 1.(backslash)
Melvin said Jeffries, a 25-year-old who had never pitched above the Double-A level, “was probably a little amped up. The homers were changeups, probably a little higher velocity than he normally throws."
Jefferies threw 53 pitches over two innings after being called up to be the 29th player for the A’s in the doubleheader. Jordan Weems followed with five strikeouts over three no-hit innings.
In between games, Texas shortstop Andrus was put on the injured list with a back strain for the second time this year. Manager Chris Woodward said Andrus was probably done for the season.
INF Sherten Apostel was brought up from the alternate site in between games and made his big league debut starting at third base. He had a fielding error in Oakland's big second, but also had a diving catch on a liner an inning later. Apostel was the eighth player to make his big league debut with Texas this season. He got his first big league hit in the seventh, an inning after Sam Huff — playing his second big league game — got his.
The A's played their second doubleheader in the last five days. They played two games at home against Houston on Tuesday, and are scheduled for another doubleheader Monday in Seattle. That will also be 10 games in seven days, their most in a week since 10 games in a seven-day span in June 1966.
CLOSED AND OPEN
The retractable roof at the new Rangers ballpark was closed during the first game, but opened for the night game. It was 84 degrees at first pitch for the nightcap. The roof was also open during Oakland's 10-6 win in the series opener Friday night.
The five-run first for Texas in the first game matched its most runs in an inning this season, and equaled the most allowed by the A's in a single frame. ... Oakland's seven runs in the second inning of Game 2 were the most allowed in an inning by Texas, but not the most scored by the A's. They had a nine-run inning against San Francisco on Aug. 16.
Athletics: Chapman is expected to miss the rest of the season because of a strained right hip. The two-time Gold Glove winner hasn't played since last Sunday. He is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday.
The final meeting of the season between the two teams. Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn (5-2, 2.52 ERA) makes his MLB-leading 11th start, his third against the A's. Frank Montas (3-3) is 1-2 with a 12.27 ERA his last four starts for Oakland.
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