OAKLAND — The A’s don’t do much scoring early in games. They had only scored once in the first inning through 14 games coming in.
But the A’s scored four runs at the expense of Texas Rangers pitcher Martin Perez in Wednesday’s opening frame, which was more than enough support for an outstanding performance fro, starter Jesse Hahn in a 9-1 blowout.
The first-inning binge began with two outs and a runner on third. Looking to avoid the powerful bat of Khris Davis, the Rangers walked him intentionally, bringing Ryon Healy to the plate.
Healy, who had pinch hits the last two nights after being benched because of a slow start to the season, started at third base and smacked a hard single up the middle to drive in Rajai Davis for the first run.
A two-run double from Josh Phegley and Yonder Alonso’s RBI double down the right-field line gave Hahn an early 4-0 cushion.
Hahn could not have started the game any better. The right-hander retired the first six Rangers on only 17 pitches.
Aside from Joey Gallo’s home run to lead off the fifth, Hahn was dominant over six innings as he allowed two hits and struck out four. The only trouble he really encountered came in the fourth when he got out of a two-on, one-out situation by striking out Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus.
After forcing Perez to throw 60 pitches in two innings, the A’s offense was able to chase him after 3⅔ innings.
While the Rangers escaped Khris Davis’ bat in the first inning, they weren’t so lucky in the fifth. Davis crushed a two-run home run off reliever Mike Hauschild to extend Oakland’s lead to 6-1. The shot over the right-field wall was his seventh of the year and tied Davis with Houston’s George Springer and Milwaukee’s Eric Thames for the major league lead.
The A’s flexed their muscles against Texas’ bullpen, hitting a home runs in three consecutive innings. Chad Pinder and Alonso added solo shots in the sixth and seventh inning.
Ryan Madson, Daniel Coulombe and Liam Hendriks combined for three innings of shutout relief, allowing only one hit. Coming off a poor performance over the weekend, the A’s combined to go three innings without giving up a run for the second consecutive game.
For the first time in 11 games, the A’s made through a full afternoon without committing an error.
— Kendall Graveman was seen playing catch on the field and even threw a side session before Wednesday’s game. Manager Bob Melvin hope that Graveman, currently on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder strain, will be able to return to the rotation when eligible during the A’s three-game series at Anaheim next week.
“We felt like we went fairly conservative by placing him on the DL but he’s an important guy for us,” Melvin said. “Nothing’s for sure but I think we’re on a good path for him to be able to come back in Anaheim.”
— Bit hard by the injury bug over the past week, eyebrows were raised when Jed Lowrie was held out of Wednesday’s lineup, but Melvin assured that Lowrie was just getting a regular day off.
— Daniel Mengden is throwing again after having surgery on his right foot. Melvin said he is looking forward to getting Mengden back, along with Chris Bassitt and Felix Doubront.
“We’ve been adding guys to the DL, hopefully soon we’ll be subtracting guys,” Melvin said. You can never have too much pitching.”
— Andrew Triggs has been a revelation in the A’s rotation. After pitching in relief last year, A’s general manager David Forst and Billy Beane projected that Triggs’ success in the long relief role could translate to a starting spot.
Triggs ended a four-game losing skid for the A’s on Tuesday, tossing six innings of three-hit ball and allowing no earned runs to improve to 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
“Based on his history it’s not something you would expect but he’s done a great job,” Melvin said. “He’s pitching as well as anyone in the American League at this point.”