Craig Gentry's two out, go ahead three-run triple climaxed a four-run eighth inning as Texas rallied to beat the A's 4-3.
After cruising through sixth with the sore at 2-0, the A's turned to Grant Balfour as a bridge to Ryan Cook in the eighth inning. Unfortunately, Balfour could not hold the lead as three walks and a single chased him after two-thirds of an inning. Cook induced what seemed to be a playable fly ball to left center field but Yoenis Cespedes took a bad angle to the ball and it went over his head, allowing all three runs to score.
The loss was especially frustrating as A.J. Griffin turned in his second fantastic start. Griffin shut the Rangers down, allowing no runs on just two hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. The A's offense staked him to a lead with RBI singles by Cespedes in the fourth inning and Coco Crisp in the fifth, making it 2-0.
Jerry Blevins entered in the seventh and had a little trouble following an error by Brandon Inge, hitting Gentry to put runners on first and second base. But he struck out Mike Napoli and then got Leonys Martin to ground out to end the inning.
Former Fresno State reliever Tanner Scheppers entered for Texas in the ninth inning and after retiring the first two hitters, allowed a high home run to A's first baseman Chris Carter, who was recently called up from Triple-A Sacramento. But he recovered to retire pinch-hitter Seth Smith to end the game for his first major league save.
Good: A.J. Griffin. A fantastic start. He was masterful keeping the potent Rangers bats at bay for six innings. It is a small sample size, but after two starts, he definitely deserves a long look at staying up, even if/when Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon both return. Unfortunately, he got a no-decision when he clearly pitched well enough to win.
Bad: Brandon Inge. Another 0-fer tonight, going 0 for 4 with another error. Inge is now hitting .207 and has definitely struggled lately. There is no doubt that he remains the obvious best option at third base, but he has to pick it up.
Ugly: Grant Balfour. Yes, the fateful hit of the game came with Ryan Cook on the mound. I understand that. But that said, Balfour's spotty control was on the awful side tonight. It should have never come to that point. Three walks in 2/3 innings. That is pathetic. The loss is squarely on the burly Aussie's shoulders tonight.
Now 37-41, the A's will send Tom Milone out against Martin Perez Saturday evening. First pitch is set for 4:15 p.m. as the game will be aired on national television.
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