Right-hander Mike Fiers will attempt to bounce back from the shortest start of his major league career while also trying to pick up his 15th victory of the season when the Oakland A's take on the Texas Rangers on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.
Fiers (14-4, 3.97 ERA) gave up nine runs on nine hits, including five home runs, in one-plus inning on Monday night in a 15-0 loss at Houston. The setback snapped a 21-start unbeaten streak for Fiers, tied with Hall of Famer Lefty Grove for the longest in franchise history. He also won 12 straight decisions during that stretch.
Fiers left Monday after facing three batters in the second inning without recording an out, pulled after yielding back-to-back home runs to Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley. He also gave up homers to Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Robinson Chirinos during a six-run first.
"They got on him early, and he didn't have an answer for that," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told reporters of Fiers. "But it's been an incredible run he's been on."
"I felt great before the game," Fiers said, according to MLB.com. "I just have to laugh about it. It's one of those games where you just feel like they were on everything you threw. I'm going to put this one behind me pretty quick."
Fiers, 34, is 3-3 with a 6.23 in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Rangers and is 1-1 with an 8.76 ERA in five games (four starts) at Globe Life Park. This will be his third start of the season against the Rangers. He has garnered no decisions in both of his previous two starts, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 11 innings.
Left-hander Mike Minor (13-8, 3.08 ERA) will start for Texas (74-75), which will look to even the three-game series after losing the opener 14-9 on Friday. The victory was Oakland's fourth in a row and sixth in seven games.
Minor is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in seven career games, four starts, against Oakland (88-60) but lost his only start against the A's this season. During a 6-1 setback in Oakland on April 22, he allowed four runs, including a solo homer by Stephen Piscotty, on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts over six innings.
The A's, who hold a half-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the top American League wild-card spot, smashed five homers Friday night, including a pair by designated hitter Khris Davis.
"We left some balls in the middle of the plate," said Texas manager Chris Woodward, whose team has won six of its past eight games. "Probably some pitches we shouldn't have thrown to certain hitters in the middle of the plate, and they made us pay."
Twelve of Oakland's runs came with two outs.
"I don't think I've ever seen that," Woodward said. "It sucks because we're obviously on the losing end of that."
Davis, who finished with four RBIs and now has 22 home runs this season, no doubt will be sorry to be playing his final series at Globe Life Park. He has a .314 average with 19 homers, 11 doubles and 42 RBIs in 34 career games there, tied for the second-most home runs by a visiting player behind Jason Giambi's 20.
The Rangers will be moving across the street to a new stadium with a retractable roof for the 2020 season.
"It's a good stadium," Davis told reporters. "It's just another stadium, but I'll miss it a little. I have good memories here."
--Field Level Media