OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics had jumped out to an early lead against Yu Darvish, a pitcher they have owned of late.
Looking to build off a weekend sweep of the Astros, the A’s couldn’t hold their lead and lost 4-3 to the Texas Rangers on Monday night. They got beat by a couple of their former players, too.
Donnie Murphy lined a go-ahead single up the middle with one out in the eighth inning as the Rangers got to Sean Doolittle (0-1).
“The pitch to Murphy, I thought I executed it,” Doolittle said. “He just did a great job and smoked it right back up the middle.”
Doolittle (0-1) allowed a leadoff double to Kevin Kouzmanoff and Mitch Moreland sacrificed him to third before Murphy’s hit. Murphy and Kouzmanoff are both former A’s players.
Neal Cotts (1-1) pitched one inning for the win, then gave way to Alexi Ogando before Joakim Soria finished for his fourth save.
Brandon Moss homered and Coco Crisp hit a two-run single as the A’s went ahead 3-1 in the second, but they couldn’t hold the lead.
Oakland lost for only the second time in nine games and third time in 14.
“They’re the division champs, it goes through them,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t think too many times you’ll see Doolittle give it up. He’s only human.”
Kouzmanoff also singled in a run for the Rangers, who had their season-best five-game winning streak snapped in Sunday’s 16-2 home loss to the White Sox.
Darvish needed 29 pitches to get through the second inning, when he allowed Moss’ leadoff homer and the single by Crisp. Darvish allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings, struck out six and walked four on 116 pitches.
The right-hander hasn’t beaten Oakland since May 16, 2012, and is still looking for his first victory at the Coliseum – one of three ballparks where he has multiple losses. Darvish is 0-6 in his last seven starts against the A’s. He saw the end of his streak of eight straight outings allowing two or fewer runs, dating to last season.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run. He later left the game in the seventh after landing awkwardly on his left ankle extending his leg to beat out what was ruled an infield single. X-rays were negative, but Choo was expected to have an MRI exam Tuesday to determine the severity of his sprain.
“We have a long season, it’s April,” Choo said. “I don’t want to make it worse.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call that Choo was safe, and it was then overturned in 3 minutes, 45 seconds, on review.
“I heard that he was out. Based on the replay I was seeing I wasn’t sure about it but they said that there was one replay that showed that he was out,” Melvin said. “That was one I challenge either way.”
Oakland starter Dan Straily struck out six in five innings, but left with a no-decision after the Rangers tied the game at 3 on Prince Fielder’s RBI single in the top of the fifth.
“I gave them more opportunities than I should have,” Straily said. “I was battling myself. I couldn’t get ahead of guys very well. That might have cost me a little bit.”
Crisp landed hard on his ribcage trying to make a diving catch in the sixth, but stayed in center field after a trainer and Melvin hustled out to check on him. Crisp singled for his third hit in the bottom half, then made a leaping catch in the seventh.
A’s left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was held out of the starting lineup with a sore heel, though he reported feeling better. Cespedes flied out to the warning track in center as a pinch-hitter in the seventh then stayed in the game as left fielder.
NOTES: Crisp stole his 146th base for with the A’s, tying him with Carney Lansford for fourth place in Oakland history. … Former A’s prospect Michael Choice, traded during the offseason, entered on defense for Choo in the seventh and singled and stole a base in the ninth. … Oakland claimed INF Andy Parrino off waivers from Texas and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento.