The Rangers left 11 runners on base and were hurt by the long ball in a 4-2 loss in Oakland Monday afternoon.
Ranger starter Derek Holland pitched just four and two-thirds innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. It was his shortest start since June 11. Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp homered off of Holland in the loss.
The Rangers outhit the A’s, 8-6, but the two home runs were enough to take down the division leaders. Oakland first got to the Dutch Oven in the second inning.
Cespedes sent home run no. 21 sailing over the left field fence to lead to lead off the inning. With two outs and a runner on second, Chris Young lined a single to center field that took a hop over the glove of Leonys Martin. The run scored, and Young was thrown out at home plate trying to circle the bases.
Martin was charged with a tough error on the play, as Young’s hit bounced off an uneven piece of sod in center field. The bench and sideline area for the Oakland Raiders, who also play home games at O.co Coliseum, is located in center field when the playing surface is designed for football games.
Covelli “Coco” Crisp gave the A’s the lead for good with a two-run home run off the left field foul pole in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Michael Choice, who had reached on a rare throwing error from Adrian Beltre.
Between the two two-run innings by the Athletics, David Murphy evened the score at two with a tape-measure blast off the camera well above the wall in dead center field in the fifth inning.
But that was all the offense the Rangers could muster against Oakland starter Dan Straily.
Straily pitched five innings, giving up just three hits and recording four strikeouts. Martin was the victim of all four Straily K’s.
Martin struck out in his first four at-bats before lining a single into left-center in the ninth inning. He hadn’t struck out more than twice in a game as a major leaguer before Monday’s game.
Lance Berkman went 0-for-4 in his return from the disabled list Monday. Berkman, who hadn’t played for the major league club since July 6, stranded eight runners on base in the game.
He lined out to right field with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, and flew out to the right-center gap with two men aboard to end the Rangers eighth.
Alex Rios recorded three hits, including a double, but the bottom of the Rangers’ order was unable to bring him around to score.
A bright spot for the Rangers came from the bullpen as Nick Tepesch pitched for Texas for the first time in almost two months. Tepesch threw three-and-one-third innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit.
The rookie threw 20 strikes on 28 pitches (71.4 percent) in his return.
Holland threw just 40 strikes on 74 pitches (54 percent), which is 11 percent lower than his 2013 strike ratio entering Monday’s game. He described his outing as "terrible" to reporters after the game.
Dan Otero, Brett Anderson, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined for four innings of scoreless baseball in relief of Straily, who recorded his eighth win of the year. The save was no. 36 for Balfour.
The loss moves the Rangers into a tie for first place atop the AL West division. The two teams have two games left in a three-game set in California. First pitch Tuesday is slated for 9:05 p.m.