Fresh off walk-off slam, A’s look to down Rangers again

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Two pitchers done in by shaky defense in their latest start will look for better luck when the visiting Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics meet again on Wednesday night.

Starting pitching was the story in the series opener Tuesday, with Rangers right-hander Lance Lynn and A’s lefty Jesus Luzardo dominating the action until Oakland’s Stephen Piscotty smacked a walk-off grand slam against Texas reliever Jesse Chavez with one out in the ninth.

The dramatics gave Oakland a four-game winning streak, while at the same time handing Texas a third loss in four games in their weeklong San Francisco Bay Area stay.

The Rangers will send right-hander Kyle Gibson (0-1, 0.00 ERA) to face another Oakland lefty, Sean Manaea (0-2, 7.00).

In his first game for Texas after leaving Minnesota as a free agent, Gibson got a rude welcome to his new club when third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa threw away Christian Walker’s two-out grounder in the top of the first inning, allowing two Arizona Diamondbacks to score.

When David Peralta followed with a single, the Diamondbacks had three unearned runs and Gibson was on his way to a loss despite not allowing an earned run in five innings.

Arizona wound up with a 4-1 victory.

Gibson made six starts for the Twins against the A’s in his career, going 3-2 with a 3.82 ERA. The 32-year-old has gone 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA in three starts in Oakland.

Gibson has to hope his new teammates give him more offensive support than in his debut last week, and more than they offered Lynn in Tuesday’s game.

Texas manager Chris Woodward went with a heavy right-handed-hitting lineup against the left-handed Luzardo in his first major league start. The results were not what he had hoped.

“A lot of these (right-handed hitters) have had a lot of quality at-bats in camp and into the season,” Woodward said before the game. “We’re looking to put guys in there to give us a chance to maybe get that guy (Luzardo) out of the game and flip the lineup at that point and go with our lefties.

“Honestly, we’re just looking for the best quality (at-bats) to win games.”

The new look was a flop against Luzardo. Nick Solak (0-for-4), Scott Heineman (0-for-3), Rob Refsnyder (0-for-1) and Adolis Garcia (0-for-3), all righty swingers, combined to go 0-for-11 with one walk and five strikeouts.

Woodward noted that the lineup wasn’t “a trial run,” meaning it’s possible he’ll trot some or all of the quartet out there to face Manaea, especially with regulars Rougned Odor and Danny Santana hurting.

Manaea was charged with five runs (three earned) in his last start, but all five could be tied to errors.

The A’s made one miscue apiece in the fourth and fifth innings at Seattle on Friday, and the Mariners cashed in with three- and two-run innings.

Manaea has pitched well against the Rangers in his career, going 6-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 11 starts. The six wins equal the 28-year-old’s most against any opponent.

Even with his team having hit a franchise-record two walk-off grand slams within the first seven home dates of the season, Piscotty somehow kept an level head afterward that’s typical of Oakland’s business-like approach.

“Honestly, when I hit it, I was just glad I got it out (to the outfield),” he calmly noted in an on-field interview shortly after touching home plate. “I was thinking sac fly … and it kept going.”

–Field Level Media

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