OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — The Oakland Athletics leave town feeling a whole lot better than they did when they arrived at home just four days ago.
Coco Crisp hit a solo homer and bases-loaded triple to match his season total for extra-base hits and the A’s earned their first series win in more than a month, beating the Texas Rangers 7-1 on Thursday.
Crisp’s big day at the plate helped Brandon McCarthy (5-3) win his fifth straight decision as the A’s took three of four from the two-time defending AL champions after losing 10 of their previous 11 games.
“To be able to take three out of four, with the struggles that we’ve seen here recently is a big lift,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Offensively we did some good things this series, certainly pitching and our defense has been really good too. We played all facets this series. You have to play that way to beat a team like that three out of four and we did.”
Oakland had lost five straight series and gone winless in nine since taking two of three from Tampa Bay from May 4-6. But with strong starts from Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon and McCarthy and a bit more offense than usual, the A’s were able to handle the struggling Rangers.
Brandon Moss also homered for Oakland, which outscored first-place Texas 24-8 in the four games. The A’s have scored 33 runs in the past six games after collecting just 32 in the previous 16.
“It’s something that last year we just didn’t do,” McCarthy said. “They would come in here or we’d go there and they’d just outplay us right out of the stadium. This series was nice. The starting pitching was fantastic and the offense when we needed it was there.”
Yu Darvish (7-4) gave up six runs, six hits and six walks in 5 1-3 innings, failing in his bid to become the first eight-game winner in the American League. The normally powerful Rangers offense also was held down once again.
Texas has lost seven of nine and has been held to two runs or fewer five times in seven games in June, including in all three losses to the A’s. The Rangers had been held to two or fewer runs just eight times in the first two months of the season.
“Over the last three years this is out of the ordinary,” slugger Josh Hamilton said. “What has made us so good is that if two or three guys were not getting it done, then two or three others would be getting it done. Right now no one is getting it done.”
The A’s lost outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in the first inning to a strained left hamstring going from first to third on Seth Smith’s RBI single. Cespedes, who came off the disabled list last week from a hand injury, was replaced by Collin Cowgill.
Cespedes is day to day and Melvin hopes he will be available to pinch-hit this weekend in Arizona.
Crisp, who had two doubles and six RBIs in 114 at-bats coming into the game, ended a 40-game homerless drought when he took Darvish deep to make it 2-0 in the third.
“This is a guy that we rely heavily on,” Melvin said. “When somebody struggles who’s important to us we all feel it. For him to get going today the home run and then the three-run (triple) it’s a sense of relief. We definitely need him. Our offense is best when he’s on base and doing his thing on the bases. It’s a great feeling.”
After Adrian Beltre got Texas on the board with an RBI single in the fourth, the A’s took advantage of Darvish’s wildness to break the game open with four runs in the bottom half.
Oakland loaded the bases without a hit on one-out walks to Brandon Inge and Moss and a hit batsman for Kurt Suzuki. Cliff Pennington hit a sacrifice fly and Crisp delivered a triple to right field after Jemile Weeks walked to load the bases as the A’s went up 6-1.
“The walks hurt him,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “When you put so many guys on base something bad is going to happen and it did. He’s a tremendous pitcher and even tremendous pitchers have days like this.”
That was more than enough support for McCarthy, who retired his final 11 batters in his second start since returning from the disabled list last week from a strained right shoulder. McCarthy allowed one run and three hits in seven innings.
NOTES: RHP Tanner Scheppers made his major league debut for the Rangers after being called up to replace LHP Derek Holland, who was placed on the DL because of a fatigued left shoulder. Scheppers allowed one run in 1 2-3 innings. … The Rangers stay in the Bay Area where they will return to San Francisco to play the Giants for the first time since losing the 2010 World Series. They lost both road games that series and are 0-11 all time in San Francisco. … Melvin will manage his first game in Arizona since being fired by the Diamondbacks in 2009 when Oakland opens a three-game series there on Friday night. Oakland’s Tommy Milone (6-5) is slated to face Daniel Hudson (2-1).
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