Blanton looks to help the A’s gain ground in the AL West and wild-card race as they continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Ameriquest Field.
Blanton lost his second straight start Monday, allowing two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-0 defeat to Seattle. The 24-year-old right-hander has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last nine starts, but is just 3-3 during that stretch.
“He has pitched tremendously and I’ve said that to him several times to keep the faith and one of these days we’ll get him a bunch of runs,” manager Ken Macha said.
The 24-year-old rookie, who lowered his ERA to 3.46 ERA, is 3-4 with a 2.20 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. The A’s have been shut out in six of his starts and are scoring just 3.46 runs per nine innings in Blanton’s outings.
“Runs will come,” Blanton said. “The only thing I can worry about is keeping us in the game. That’s my job.”
Blanton will square off against another impressive rookie, Rangers starter Kameron Loe.
Loe, who is making his fourth straight start after 40 appearances out of the bullpen, gave up just five hits in eight innings of Monday’s 7-0 win over Minnesota.
He has allowed just two runs in 19 innings in his three starts.
“I really feel comfortable out there,” he said. “It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m just happy the manager keeps giving me the ball and sending me out there.”
The A’s beat the Rangers 9-8 in Friday’s series opener, remaining 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the wild-card race. The Indians beat Minnesota 4-2 on Friday. Oakland is also a half-game back of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Mark Ellis went 4-for-5 with a homer, and Mark Kotsay and Dan Johnson also connected for the A’s. Eric Chavez added four RBIs for Oakland, which has 29 runs in its last three wins but five in the past four defeats.
The A’s have won two in a row since a four-game losing streak.
Mark Teixeira hit his 37th homer and knocked in five runs for Texas to reach 120 RBIs. His three-run shot in the ninth cut it to 9-8. Mark DeRosa and Phil Nevin also homered for the Rangers, who had won nine of 12.
“This is a typical game for us playing down here,” Macha said. “You’re never safe with the runs here. We go into the last of the ninth with a five-run lead and the next thing you know, they’re getting ready to beat us.”