ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nick Tepesch needed one out to get himself through six innings of one-hit ball against the highest-scoring team in the majors.
Turned out to be a tall order.
Tepesch gave up consecutive home runs to John Jaso and Yoenis Cespedes that sent the Oakland Athletics on their way to a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Before that, Tepesch (3-7) had allowed only a second-inning single to Brandon Moss.
“It was really good up until that homer,” the right-hander said. “I just made a bad pitch with a changeup. Not much I can do about that.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington expressed similar sentiments about Tepesch’s outing.
“I thought he did great,” Washington said. “He made two pitches – the changeup he left up to Jaso and the fastball he got out over the plate to Cespedes. He was in command all night, and they powered the ball out of the ballpark.”
Josh Donaldson led off the seventh with another home run, and Josh Reddick connected two batters later. That gave the A’s four home runs in a six-batter span to back the latest stingy outing by Sonny Gray.
Tepesch exited with a 2-1 count to Donaldson because of soreness in his left knee. Nate Adcock, making his season debut, served up the homers to Donaldson and Reddick.
Oakland’s late power display prevented the Rangers, who own the worst record in the majors, from winning consecutive games for the first time since June 27-28.
Tepesch threw 99 pitches in a start last Sunday and then made a relief appearance two days later in a 14-inning loss when the Rangers ran out of relievers. He had this start pushed back a day.
Washington said Tepesch was removed for precautionary reasons and the knee problem wasn’t connected to Tuesday’s emergency relief outing.
Gray (12-3) won his sixth straight decision, allowing seven hits over 6 2-3 innings. He didn’t give up more than one earned run in any of his five July starts.
Gray hasn’t lost since June 13. In four starts this season against Texas, he has a 1.84 ERA.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s tough to follow around when you’re a hitter. And, on top of that, he’s quite the competitor.”
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when J.P. Arencibia singled home Jim Adduci. They threatened in the fifth with runners on first and second and two outs, but Arencibia went down swinging for Gray’s third strikeout of the inning and fifth of the game.
All seven of the Rangers’ hits were singles (they’re 14th in the AL in homers). They grounded into two double plays (they rank 14th in that category) and had a runner picked off first base (they’re worst in the league in caught stealing).
“You’ve got to put yourself in situations to be able to get some hits,” said Adduci, the only Texas batter with two hits. “But that’s part of the game. You kind of just look forward to tomorrow and get ready to go.”
Arencibia appears rejuvenated following a stint at Triple-A Round Rock. He was sent down in mid-May with a .133 batting average, one homer and five RBIs after appearing in 20 games. In nine games since his return, he has three homers and seven RBIs in nine games.
Adcock, called up from Round Rock on Thursday, became the team-record 32nd pitcher used this season by Texas.
NOTES: Oakland’s starter on Sunday, Scott Kazmir, ranks second in the AL with a 2.32 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of his last four starts. … Rangers LHP Derek Holland (knee) will make his first rehab start Wednesday for Double-A Frisco if a Monday bullpen session goes well. … A’s infielder Alberto Callaspo (hamstring) is scheduled to be activated for Sunday’s series finale.