Rangers, A’s meet as ex-minor league teammates battle

MLB

Right-hander Drew Anderson will seek his first major-league win in just his second big-league start Saturday afternoon when he and the Texas Rangers visit the Oakland Athletics in the continuation of a three-game series.

The A’s took the opener 4-1 in 11 innings on Friday night, getting a three-run homer from Starling Marte that resulted in the club’s second consecutive walk-off win.

The loss was the Rangers’ fourth straight.

Anderson, a native of Reno, Nev., can expect family and friends to make the 200-mile trip to see his third outing since being promoted from Triple-A last week.

Both of his previous appearances for the Rangers came in relief, including a shutout ninth inning Wednesday in a 2-1 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

In between getting released by the Chicago White Sox last season and making 12 starts at Round Rock this spring and summer, Anderson took a detour to Melbourne, where he dominated the Australian Baseball League as a reliever over the winter.

The 27-year-old has made a quick impression on his new manager, Chris Woodward.

“We know this guy has a good arm,” Woodward observed. “His fastball has got a lot of life to it — obviously got a lot of hop, a lot of vertical — (and) he’s got a couple of good breaking balls.”

Anderson’s only other major-league start came for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. He saw Marte three times in those National League East days, striking out the former Miami Marlin twice and allowing a single.

Marte’s heroics on Friday gave the A’s their major-league-leading 10th walk-off win of the season.

When the stat was brought to his attention, A’s manager Bob Melvin sidestepped the credit.

“I sit there and watch,” he said. “We’ve had quite a few of them. It’s always the players who win these games.”

One hitter Anderson won’t have to deal with is A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano, who was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Friday for a positive drug test. Oakland has just 52 games remaining in the regular season.

Anderson will be up against a former teammate on Saturday when left-hander Cole Irvin (7-10, 3.50) gets the ball for the A’s.

The prospects played together for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies’ organization in 2019, from where Irvin was promoted that May to make his major-league debut.

Irvin went 6-1 for Lehigh Valley that season, while Anderson was 0-6.

Irvin will be seeking to end a personal two-game losing streak that includes a 1-0 road loss to the Angels last Saturday. He gave up the game’s only run during his 6 1/3 innings.

The 27-year-old is plenty familiar with the Rangers — and vice versa — as they’ve squared off twice already this season.

Irvin benefitted from a 13-run attack in a win in June, before allowing all three Rangers runs in a 3-2 loss in July. Both of those games were at Texas.

He’s 1-1 against the Rangers in his career with a 5.40 ERA in those two starts.

Irvin can expect to see Charlie Culberson in the Texas lineup after he was used just as a pinch runner and defensive replacement in the series opener. Culberson went 4-for-7 with a double and an RBI against Irvin in the two earlier meetings.

–Field Level Media

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