Anderson gives up three HRs, A’s fall to Rangers
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Brett Anderson hadn’t had a day like this since high school. The Oakland left-hander’s curve ball was flat and his fastball didn’t move much.
No matter how many adjustments the Athletics’ ace made, the Texas Rangers kept pounding out hits – and home runs.
Anderson surrendered three home runs, including back-to-back shots to Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli in the fourth inning, and saw his modest two-start winning streak end during an 11-2 loss to the Rangers on Saturday.
“It was just terrible,” said Anderson, who matched his career high with four walks. “I had no feel for my breaking ball, which is my bread-and-butter pitch. I was just making stuff up to get deeper in the game, and that didn’t work too well. It was just a bad day.”
Oakland’s starters went into the game leading the majors with a 2.47 ERA but Anderson (2-2) never found his rhythm and was gone after five innings.
By then, Texas had clubbed three home runs and a double off the lefty – four of the Rangers’ 14 hits on the afternoon.
“It was probably the worst stuff I’ve ever had dating back to high school,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who hadn’t allowed a home run in eight consecutive starts before getting pounded by Texas, gave up nine hits while striking out three.
“Today was a struggle from the beginning,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “It was his command. When he went away it was running off, and sometimes when he came in he’d leave it down the middle. He tried to make in-game adjustments where he tried different things and he never really found a groove.”
That was critical on a day Texas starter Colby Lewis was stellar.
Lewis (2-3) pitched eight strong innings and allowed six hits with a season-high six strikeouts to win for the first time since April 2. The right-hander, who lost his previous three starts while getting one run or fewer of support, allowed solo home runs to Kurt Suzuki and Josh Willingham but was otherwise stellar.
“He did everything he wanted to do with his pitches,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He was able to put that fastball where he wanted, and when he can do that, all his other stuff is outstanding. The only pitch he made a mistake on all day was the hanging ball to Suzuki.”
It didn’t matter because the Rangers repeatedly pounded Anderson then scored four unearned runs off Oakland reliever Jerry Blevins in the ninth.
A day after getting 11 hits – all singles – Texas had five extra-base hits off five Oakland pitchers and finished with 14 hits overall, one shy of its season-high. Every starter except Mitch Moreland had at least one hit and seven players had at least one RBI.
Texas scored once in the first then took a 3-1 lead in the third on Michael Young’s first home run of the season. His two-run shot in the third ended a power drought that extended back to last Sept. 25.
Before muscling up against Anderson, Young had managed to drive in 17 runs without a home run – the third-most by a player in the bigs since 1946.
Texas then chased Anderson with two runs in the third and four in the fifth when Cruz and Napoli hit their back-to-back homers. It’s the first time this season the Rangers hit consecutive homer runs.
Oakland managed just seven hits while failing in its attempt to get above .500 for only the second time this season.
Lewis, who appeared in 26 games for the A’s in 2007, relaxed with the lead and cruised to the win. He retired 15 of the final 18 batters he faced following Willingham’s homer in the fourth and didn’t walk anyone until the eighth.
It was Lewis’ longest outing since a complete-game win over Houston last June 19.
Brett Tomko pitched the ninth for Texas.
Suzuki’s homer on a 2-2 pitch from Lewis in the second tied the game. Suzuki’s solo shot, only his second home run of the season, came two days after the birth of the Oakland catcher’s first child.
The A’s committed their AL-leading 25th error in the ninth, which led to three unearned runs.
NOTES: Oakland 2B Mark Ellis was a late scratch due to the flu. … CF Coco Crisp did some running but sat out a third straight game for Oakland with tightness in his left quadriceps. … Two-time All-Star closer Andrew Bailey (forearm strain) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday and could face hitters as early as next week, according to A’s manager Bob Geren. … A crowd of 27,285 was on hand for Rickey Henderson Bobblehead Day. The Hall of Famer, who spent time with the A’s as an instructor in spring training each of the past two years, also threw out the ceremonial first pitch. “He was in my opinion, and I’m sure in other people’s opinion, the greatest leadoff hitter of all time,” said Geren, who played two seasons with Henderson while both were with the Yankees in 1988-89. “I don’t even know who would be in his league. He still looks like he could play.” Several members of the Rangers requested the Henderson bobblehead dolls, too.