Athletics 5, Rangers 4
Tony Gwynn: A’s are early season surprise
Their celebrating teammates never had a chance to sit down.
Chavez, Thomas and Bradley homered on three straight pitches in the sixth inning in a rare achievement, and the Oakland Athletics snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
“It’s always special to see that,” said Thomas, Oakland’s new designated hitter. “It doesn’t happen very often. I’ve been in the middle before but not on successive pitches.”
Chavez led off the inning with a shot to right, Thomas followed with his 451st career homer and third of the year, then Bradley connected to chase starter Vicente Padilla.
The last time a team homered on three straight pitches was Sept. 29, 2001, when Fred McGriff, Rondell White and Todd Hundley did it for the Cubs against Houston’s Dave Mlicki at Wrigley Field, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“I didn’t even see Frank’s swing,” Chavez said. “By the time I put down my helmet and my batting gloves and sat down, Milton went deep.”
Bradley did it on his 28th birthday, too.
“I just thought it would be kind of cool if I hit one out, too,” he said. “Boom, boom, boom, jump on them like that. We knocked their starter out of the game. He had been pitching well. … We didn’t give him a chance to blink, catch his breath—one pitch out, another pitch out.”
Nick Swisher added a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for the A’s, who returned to .500 at 6-6 for the same mark they had at this time in 2005.
Padilla (2-1) was trying to win his first three outings for the first time in his career as a starter. He seemed headed that way until being doomed by his 86th, 87th and 88th pitches of the game. Still, the 28-year-old right-hander is making quite the impression in his first season for the Rangers and his initial campaign in the AL after spending his first seven seasons with Arizona and Philadelphia.
Padilla’s four home runs allowed were his most were his most since surrendering a career-high five on April 19, 2005, in three innings against the New York Mets.
“Things just steamroll like that sometimes,” Nevin said. “Obviously you’ve got good hitters in that lineup who are capable of something like that.”
Harden (2-0) allowed three hits, walked five and struck out eight in seven innings, but only 63 of his 107 pitches went for strikes. Harden matched his walks total from his first two outings.
After Justin Duchscherer allowed consecutive one-out singles to Gary Matthews Jr. and Michael Young in the eighth, Joe Kennedy relieved and got Mark Teixeira to ground into an inning-ending double play. Huston Street converted his third save in as many chances and 21st in a row dating to last season.
“It was a big pitch, a big part of the game,” Kennedy said.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead when D’Angelo Jimenez grounded into a double play in the second.
Bradley also singled twice for the A’s, who haven’t strayed from their tradition of slow starts in the first month.
“He was cruising along and pitching really well,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said of Padilla. “He just made some mistakes with pitches and the hitters hit them.”
Street, reigning AL Rookie of the Year, moved into a tie for Oakland’s second longest consecutive saves streak with Dennis Eckersley (Sept. 28, 1989-June 10, 1990) and Mudcat Grant (May 1-Aug. 14, 1970). … Rangers INF Mark DeRosa was held out of the lineup again a day after he tweaked his left ankle in his first game back after missing six games with a high ankle injury in the same foot. While DeRosa tried to convince Showalter he could play, he might also get Sunday off for a total of three days’ rest with the team’s day off Monday. “They’re just being cautious I guess,” said DeRosa, who felt it chasing a foul ball Friday. … A’s manager Ken Macha plans to give 2B Mark Ellis a couple of days off to work on his swing. Ellis is batting .167 with two RBIs so far this season and is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. Marco Scutaro started at 2B Saturday. … Violet Dimova from Danville won $5,000 in a promotion for back-to-back homers in the sixth. … Chavez played his 1,000th game at 3B.