OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Nathan Eovaldi set a career high with 12 strikeouts and extended his scoreless streak to 28 2/3 innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Thursday night in manager Bruce Bochy’s return to Northern California.
“I feel like I’ve really settled into my mechanics,” Eovaldi said. “I’m really confident, especially with our defense and offense. The offense has been able to throw up runs left and right, and it’s not just one or two. We’re able to squeeze out four or five, six, seven runs.”
Marcus Semien homered against his former team in front of a crowd of 2,949 that was the second-smallest of the season at the Oakland Coliseum.
Eovaldi (5-2) put together his third consecutive masterful performance to keep the AL West-leading Rangers rolling and sending the A’s to their fifth straight loss.
An All-Star with Boston in 2021 before signing with the Rangers last December, Eovaldi pitched three-hit ball with one walk over 8 2/3 innings to become the third pitcher in franchise history to post three consecutive starts of at least eight scoreless innings. Martín Pérez (2014) and Charlie Hough (1983) are the others.
“I just think he found something and he’s sticking to it,” catcher Jonah Heim said. “He’s executing every single pitch he throws. He might make a mistake here or there, but he comes back. That’s what makes him special.”
Eovaldi nearly had his second complete game shutout in three starts after he got Tony Kemp to ground out and struck out Nick Allen to start the ninth, but then allowed a double to Esteury Ruiz and walked Ryan Noda before Bochy went to the bullpen. Will Smith struck out Brent Rooker for his seventh save.
“We knew what we were up against,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “But he’s locked in. And tonight we saw a really good starting pitcher on a roll.”
Against the worst team in baseball, that was more than enough as Bochy – who helped orchestrate three World Series championships across the Bay in San Francisco before stepping away following the 2019 season – looked on from the Texas dugout.
Semien’s home run, a solo shot in the sixth that was his seventh this season, gave the Rangers a jolt after they weren’t able to get much going against Medina. The A’s rookie, who was making his second career start after being called up from the minors earlier in the day, was perfect through three innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth.
After Josh Jung’s leadoff single in the fifth, Medina threw a wild pitch and Jung advanced to second. Leody Taveras lined a 1-0 pitch to center for a 1-0 lead.
Robbie Grossman doubled and scored from third on a wild pitch in the sixth.
Pinch-hitter Sam Huff added an RBI groundout in the seventh.
“After the first couple innings, I knew we had our work cut out trying to score a couple runs but this a deep lineup and they kept battling,” Bochy said.
Medina (0-2) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings for the A’s, who fell to 8-31. The rookie had three strikeouts with no walks.
Former A’s pitcher and 1971 AL Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue was honored during ía brief pregame ceremony with a tribute on the video scoreboards and moment of silence. The 73-year-old Blue, a six-time All-Star, died May 6 due to complications from cancer.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy was designated for assignment by the Rangers after a tough start to his 17th season in the big leagues. Kennedy, a 21-game winner for Arizona in 2011, made Texas’ opening day roster as a non-roster invitee and went 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 outings. Texas recalled left-hander John King from Triple-A Round Rock, clearing roster room with Kennedy’s departure.
Rangers: Injured SS Corey Seager (left hamstring strain) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco and went 1 for 3 with a two-run double in five innings.
Athletics: RHP Mason Miller was placed on the 15-day injured list with tightness in his right forearm. ... RHP Rico Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... RHP Zach Neal was recalled from Las Vegas. ... C Manny Pina (sprained left wrist) has been ordered to stop all baseball activities for now. ... OF/1B Seth Brown (strained left oblique) will begin a rehab assignment Saturday. ... INF Aledmys Díaz (strained left hamstring) has been running without a setback and could come off the IL on Sunday. ... RHP Paul Blackburn (right middle finger avulsion) threw on the side and could return off the IL to pitch Sunday.
Peréz (4-1, 3.66 ERA) pitches Friday night for the Rangers and is unbeaten in his previous five starts. Peréz has five wins in 12 career games at the Coliseum. The A’s will go with LHP Ken Waldichuk (1-2, 7.25), who is 1-0 over his last five starts after allowing 14 runs and losing each of his first two.
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