Despite winning his last start, Dan Haren made AL history he may prefer to forget.
Since a three-game losing streak in mid-July, Haren has won six straight outings, and through the first five starts, he’d been quite effective.
But in his last outing against Toronto on Monday, Haren (12-9, 3.79 ERA) became the first pitcher in AL history to win a game in which he allowed eight runs over the first two innings.
He finished allowing 11 hits and nine runs in 5 2-3 innings, but picked up the victory as Oakland (74-55) rallied from an 8-0 deficit to win 12-10.
“It’s amazing how that stuff happens,” Haren said. “Momentum is an incredible thing.”
Haren had allowed two runs or fewer in each of his five previous starts during the winning streak, posting a 1.25 ERA.
He pitched well against Texas on April 16, allowing four hits and one run in eight innings, but didn’t earn a decision in Oakland’s 5-3 loss.
Haren is 2-2 with a 4.71 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers (66-65).
Oakland improved to a major league-best 18-5 in August with a 5-3 victory over Texas on Saturday. The Rangers fell to a season-high nine games behind the Athletics in the AL West.
“We still hold out hope that things could change. That’s the mentality we’re still going to have,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
The Athletics, who begin a nine-game homestand on Monday against Boston, lead the Los Angeles Angels by 5 1/2 games in the division.
“It’s coming down to crunch time, so this was a big series for us,” Oakland second baseman Mark Ellis said. “We had two teams chasing us. We felt like if we played good this weekend, we could kind of take care of business a little bit.”
Vicente Padilla (12-8, 4.38) looks to bounce back from his two previous outings when he starts for Texas on Sunday.
The right-hander allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings to beat Oakland 14-0 on Aug. 9, but has struggled and been suspended since then.
He allowed eight hits and six runs in 3 2-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels and was ejected after hitting a batter despite receiving an earlier warning.
Padilla served a five-game suspension for his actions. When he returned, he allowed 10 hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
He leads the AL with 16 hit batters.
Padilla is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts against the Athletics this season.