Oakland A’s gain ground in wild card race with drubbing of Texas Rangers

By Shayna Rubin

OAKLAND, Calif. — With a chance to gain ground in a tense wild card race, the Oakland A’s went on a frenzy at the plate in a 10-5 win over the last-place Texas Rangers on Friday night.

With the win, the A’s extended their win streak to three games. Along with the Seattle Mariners, the A’s are now one game back of the New York Yankees — who lost their seventh straight — for the second wild card. The Toronto Blue Jays, who also lost on Friday, are a half-game back of New York and the Boston Red Sox are a game up on New York.

Although typically cold against pitchers they’ve never faced, the A’s put up a six-run second inning against Rangers starter Glenn Otto to set the tone. With the bases loaded, Sean Murphy’s RBI single tied the game 1-1. Starling Marte’s two-run single was first of his three-hit night. Matt Olson’s base-clearing single — he was tagged out at second base on replay — gave the A’s a healthy 6-1 lead.

Texas threatened the lead against Paul Blackburn, tacking on three runs on four hits with exit velocities well over 100 mph. Blackburn was pulled with two outs in the third inning, Deolis Guerra finishing the inning off. With Blackburn’s 2 2/3 inning outing, A’s starters have gone five innings or fewer in 16 of their last 26 starts — a consistent burden on a taxed bullpen.

But Guerra dealt 2 1/3 scoreless to tamp a Texas comeback and pave the way for the A’s bats to keep their stride. Marte’s triple scored Elvis Andrus from second and Olson’s single scored the A’s eighth run. They’d add two more in the fifth inning on Josh Harrison’s two-run single.

Olson ended the night with four hits, all singles, and four RBI. He’s reached a career-high 95 RBI and with an RBI single against Hyeon-Jong Yang, he has an MLB-leading 42 RBI against left-handed pitching. Along with Marte, Tony Kemp recorded a three-hit game with a bunt single and infield hit reached on a head-first slide into first base. Andrus and Sean Murphy also recorded multi-hit games.

Lou Trivino’s 12-pitch, one strikeout sixth inning was a promising sign for the one-time closer who’d given up

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