OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Regardless of the situation, the inning or the score, the Texas Rangers are showing manager Bruce Bochy they will continue to do the little things it takes to win games.
When the home run isn’t there, they turn to small ball and receive contributions from everybody on the roster. Ezequiel Duran laid down a key sacrifice bunt in the decisive eighth inning and Jonathan Ornelas scored the go-ahead run as a pinch-runner in his major league debut.
Travis Jankowski had a tiebreaking RBI groundout in the eighth and Leody Taveras followed with a sacrifice fly, and Texas won its season-best seventh straight game by beating the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Monday night for the Rangers’ longest winning streak in more than five years.
“We’re doing even a better job late in the game. We’ve had some good comebacks early in the first half, but the second half these guys are really doing a nice job of grinding out at-bats, finding ways to get on base, do the little things to get back in the game or win a game late with these come-from-behind wins,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Texas tied it in the seventh when Nathaniel Lowe reached on an error by pitcher Kirby Snead while covering first and trying to catch a throw from first baseman Tyler Soderstrom, allowing Jankowski to score. He came through again the next inning facing Dany Jiménez (0-1).
Zack Gelof hit a two-run double in the third and Nick Allen also doubled home a run that inning for the A’s, coming off two impressive wins over the San Francisco Giants during the weekend Bay Bridge Series.
Mitch Garver hit a two-run double in the top of the fourth for Texas, which topped its six-game winning streak from July 14-19 and is the club’s longest since also winning seven in a row in June 2018.
“I feel like we could be down by five runs and still not out of it. For the most part per game we find ways to come back, we find ways to do well,” starting pitcher Dane Dunning said. “… Everyone here has been really fun to play around and be around.”
The Rangers won this one without clearing the fences.
They had hit multiple home runs in six straight games to begin August — 17 total — to match the longest such streak in franchise history.
Josh Sborz (5-4) relieved Dunning and pitched the seventh inning for the win then Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the eighth before Will Smith finished for his 21st save.
Dunning retired the first seven A’s in order then walked Tony Kemp in the third ahead of Nick Allen’s RBI double.
Rangers shortstop Corey Seager returned to the lineup after being held out Sunday. He came off the injured list last week with a thumb injury.
Rangers: Rookie 3B Josh Jung will undergo surgery this week after breaking his left thumb during Sunday’s 6-0 home win against Miami, but Bochy is remaining hopeful of Jung returning this season. Specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan examined Jung in Arizona and determined he needed surgery to stabilize the injury at the base of his thumb, and the procedure is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday. He likely will miss at least six weeks. Texas recalled INF Jonathan Ornelas from Triple-A Round Rock to take Jung’s place. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (forearm strain) threw 60-70 pitches from out to 100 feet. … C Jonah Heim, the switching-hitting former A’s player who has been out with a strained tendon in his left wrist, did some catching and took swings off the tee from the left side. “He’s coming along nicely,” Bochy said.
Athletics: 1B Ryan Noda, who had been slated to face live hitting Tuesday then perhaps begin a rehab assignment, needs more time but has been medically cleared to play games again if he’s comfortable given the fracture is healing well. “That’s a difficult situation I think for Ryan to be in but we’re going to do our best to assess it over the next two days,” manager Mark Kotsay said.
RHP Max Scherzer (10-4, 4.04 ERA) makes his second start since joining the Rangers in a trade from the Mets before the trade deadline. LHP JP Sears (2-8, 4.07) makes his team-leading 23rd start for the A’s, the only pitcher in the rotation all season.
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