ARLINGTON, Texas (KNTU) Carlos Gomez scored three runs and right fielder Nomar Mazara set a career high with six RBIs to help the Texas Rangers get their first win of the season 10-5 over the Oakland Athletics in front of a crowd of 34,235 at Globe Life Park on Friday, April 7.
Gomez’s leaping catch in center field to rob Matt Joyce of a first inning home run proved to be a harbinger of things to come for the Rangers throughout the game. Gomez caught all three outs in the top of the first and started off the bottom of the inning by doubling on a looping fly ball to left field.
He scored on a Mazara ground ball to first base. First baseman Yonder Alonso failed to step on the bag, then threw high to home plate, allowing Gomez to slide under the tag. Rougned Odor followed by hitting his third home run of the season, a 405-foot blast to right field that put the Rangers up 3-0.
The second inning proved even more fruitful for the Rangers’ offense. After a Shin-Soo Choo bases loaded single made the score 4-0, Mazara hit his first career grand slam and second home run of the season to give the Rangers a commanding 8-0 lead.
Mazara became the first Rangers player with at least six RBIs in one game since J.P. Arencibia drove in seven against the New York Yankees on July 29, 2014.
It was a poor start to the season for A’s right hander Raúl Alcántara (0-1), who lasted only two innings and gave up eight runs. Jesse Hahn came out of the bullpen to throw six strong innings, giving up only one run.
However, the night was not much better for Rangers starter A.J. Griffin. Despite being given an early lead, Griffin only managed to last 3.1 innings.
Matt Joyce got the A’s on the board in the third inning with a 3-run homer to right field that even Gomez couldn’t reach.
The A’s made it 8-4 in the fourth when Khris Davis launched his third home run of the season. Since joining the A’s in 2016, Davis has hit 11 of his 45 home runs against the Rangers.
Griffin exited the game with one out and the bases loaded in the fourth inning after getting an abrasion on his throwing hand while diving for a wild throw from right field by Mazara. Alex Claudio (1-0) — who came in for the injured Griffin and became the pitcher of record — induced an inning ending double play that put a damper on the A’s comeback hopes.
The Rangers lead was pushed to six in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Gomez doubled to center, plating Elvis Andrus. A Mazara single one batter later drove in his sixth RBI of the night. Mazara finished the night 3-for-5 and leads the league with six opposite field hits.
Claudio, Tony Barnette, and Jose Leclerc combined to provide 5.2 innings of relief for the Rangers’ much maligned bullpen, which had blown leads in two of Texas’ first three games. The only run allowed by the trio was an unearned run after a ninth inning error by Odor at second base.
The Rangers and A’s will continue their series on Saturday with Yu Darvish taking the mound for his second Texas start of the season. Darvish is 3-9 with a 4.61 ERA in 14 career starts against Oakland. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.