Athletics carry deep thoughts into finale with Rangers
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics will seek to surpass 200 home runs for the sixth time in franchise history Sunday afternoon when they complete what has been a high-scoring, three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Khris Davis, Chad Pinder and Matt Olson increased the A’s season total to 198 homers in Saturday’s 8-6 victory over the Rangers, one day after Ramon Laureano (two) and Marcus Semien had combined for three in an 8-4 victory in the series opener.
With 19 games remaining, the A’s are on pace for 224 homers. The franchise record is 243, set in 1996.
They are tied for second in the majors in home runs with the Los Angeles Dodgers (198), well behind the New York Yankees (232).
The A’s have hammered Rangers pitching at both ends of their last two meetings, with Laureano leading off the first with a homer Friday night, before Olson connected to break a 6-6 tie in Oakland’s last at-bat, in the bottom of the eighth, on Saturday.
Davis’ homer Saturday was his 10th of the season against Texas.
The man given the task of keeping the ball in the ballpark Sunday will be Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-4, 6.00 ERA), who did just that when he went 5 2/3 innings against the A’s in Texas on Aug. 21 in his only appearance versus Oakland.
Unfortunately for Jurado, the A’s managed 10 hits in his stint, taking a 4-0 lead they eventually turned into a 6-0 victory.
Jurado has allowed six homers in seven starts this season, with four of them coming in the same game against the Yankees on Aug. 8.
Team leader Joey Gallo belted his 35th on Friday.
A’s right-hander Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.60), who is scheduled to start the series finale, has served up seven homers in 18 starts.
One of those seven was hit by Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor when the clubs met in Texas in April.
Cahill also made a homerless start at Texas in July. He has given up eight runs and 11 hits in 10 innings in his two outings against the Rangers this season, going 1-0 with one no-decision in two A’s wins.
The 30-year-old has an 11-4 record and 3.07 ERA in 19 career starts against Texas.
Beltre has two career homers, along with a .371 average, against Cahill.
His multiple-homer game Saturday was the 33rd of his career and ran his career total to 474, allowing him to pass Carlos Delgado for 32nd place on the major league list.
Beltre’s next homer will move him into a tie for 30th with Willie Stargell and Stan Musial.