Cole Irvin and three relievers combined on a four-hitter, Stephen Piscotty homered in his second game back from the COVID-19 injured list, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 2-0 on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.
Irvin (2-1) allowed one hit in five innings to win his second straight decision. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit after Marcus Semien’s infield single leading off the game. Semien was erased on a forceout and Irvin allowed three runners after that — two by walks and one by an error.
“I found some confidence in my slider grip and I figured out what I was doing to throw it more consistently,” Irvin said. “The cutter was moving like a slider but it was fun to throw, kept guys off balance. Fastball command was big, too. I’m still learning how to pitch a little bit more at this level.”
Semien, the former A’s infielder who signed a $175 million, seven-year deal with Texas after one season in Toronto, had two hits for the Rangers. He doubled off Snead in the eighth.
Zach Johnson pitched two crisp innings, Kirby Snead retired three batters and Dany Jiménez worked out of a two-out, two-on jam in the ninth for his third save.
The struggling A’s had scored one run in the first 21 innings against the Rangers before Piscotty’s two-run drive off Spencer Howard (0-1) in the fourth. Piscotty lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands, two batters after Sean Murphy reached on an infield single.
“This weekend was kind of tough offensively,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We did a better job (today) of being patient and working counts. It’s great to see Stephen healthy. You can see the joy in the way he’s going about playing the game.”
The latest news from around North Texas.
Texas, seeking its first sweep at the Coliseum since 2015, had won four straight.
Howard, activated off the injured list before the game originally was scheduled to start before manager Chris Woodward opted to go with Garrett Richards as an opener.
Richards pitched two scoreless innings in his first start since Aug. 8, 2021. The right-hander has been used primarily as a reliever for Texas since then.