DALLAS - I will tell you now that Nomar Mazara hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning on a sunny afternoon in Oakland's torture dungeon of a stadium for the Texas Rangers.
I tell you this up front because that's the only thing the Rangers did on Sunday afternoon in Oakland that will make you even the least bit happy if you're reading this and you root for the Rangers.
In fact, you didn't have much of anything to cheer for this entire weekend as Texas went 21 innings without scoring a single run against the American League's fourth worst pitching staff by ERA.
Sandwiched between Mazara's solo home run and a solo home run by Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third inning on Friday, the 21 innings without a run marked a season long drought for Texas. The previous worst scoreless streak was 16 innings and came back in April.
The two runs the Rangers scored in this three-game set against Oakland was the fewest by the Rangers in a series of three or more all season by a wide margin. Obviously for Texas, the feeble display by the offense came at an inopportune time with Texas clinging to Wild Card hopes before the series began.
It didn't start so horrific for the Rangers as they had second half surprise Martin Perez (12-12) on the mound. However, Perez walked four of the first eight A's hitters he faced, and, though he was able to get away with flirting with disaster over the first four innings, in the fifth he ran headlong into Khris Davis.
The A's scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth with RBIs coming off the bats of Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie before Davis' 1,000th career home run against the Rangers ended Perez's afternoon.
While Perez was struggling to stay afloat, A's starter Jharel Cotton was thriving against the Texas lineup. Cotton finished the game with a win for his five innings and 77 pitches of effort. Cotton allowed just one hit, zero runs, one walk, and struck out six Rangers. The A's bullpen went four innings and allowed the Mazara solo home run but just one hit otherwise and zero walks.
Chapman and Josh Phegley added RBI hits in the bottom of the sixth inning to pad the A's lead and after Mazara homered, the A's scored again in the bottom of the eighth on a Marcus Semien base hit to make it 8-1. With the loss, the Rangers finished the season 1-8 in Oakland and lost the final eight games in the season series, including a Wild Card-dooming sweep in both August and September.
The Rangers are finished with road games, west coast night games, and demoralizing losses in Oakland for at least the year 2017. Of course, it appears to be too little, too late for them to escape the Bay unscathed as the loss dropped them to 5.5 games back of Minnesota for a playoff spot.
In fact, the Rangers (76-79) are now closer to the A's (72-83) in the AL West cellar than they are the Twins and October. The Rangers do still have the faintest of pulses, but it would take perhaps the great sports miracle for them to extend the season beyond 162 games. With an elimination number of 2 and Minnesota off on Monday, the Rangers could conceivably see all hope of making the playoffs vanish by Tuesday night.
Texas will now travel home to finish out their slate with three games against the American League West division champion Houston Astros and then four games on Fan Appreciation Weekend against these Oakland Athletics to close out the season.
I get the feeling neither the fans nor Rangers will much appreciate seeing the A's.
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