ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers made the surprising move of activating third baseman Adrian Beltre from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday night’s game against Oakland.
While that move caught many by surprise, it may not have been as surprising as the pitching performance offered by Chi Chi Gonzalez in an 8-6 loss to Oakland Tuesday night. The loss was the third straight for Texas, something that hasn’t happened since May 14-16.
Gonzalez, who had been dominant in his first four starts, was tagged for six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
The Gonzalez start, which came after he had allowed a total of three runs in his first four starts, brought an end to a club record of 17-straight starts in which the starter had allowed three runs or fewer.
"He hasn’t as sharp with his location as he has been," Texas manager Jeff Banister said of Gonzalez. "There were some pitches he tried to get in tonight that moved out over the plate on him. These guys seemed to be hunting velocity all night long."
The sixth proved to be the doing for Gonzalez. After the Rangers scored four in the bottom of the fourth to give him a 5-2 lead to work with Gonzalez walked the first batter he faced and hit the third one. Ike Davis doubled in a run to make it 5-3 and after a strikeout got him out from avoiding more trouble, Josh Phegley tied the game with a two-run double.
That ended the night for Gonzalez but not the scoring for the inning as Keone Kela came in and gave up the go-ahead double to Marcus Semien. That run pushed the ERA for Gonzalez to 2.27 after he entered with a 0.90 mark.
"It’s upsetting I gave up the lead," said Gonzalez, who allowed eight hits and struck out just one. "I was just trying to get my outs. Just control things I can control. I was missing spots and I shouldn’t miss spots. When pitches aren’t made pitchers are going to hit it."
The Texas offense did have its most productive outing since scoring 11 on June 13. Beltre had a hit and drove in a run despite playing through some pain in his left thumb.
General manager Jon Daniels said Beltre was a freak for playing though an injury that he thought would keep him out of the lineup longer. Beltre said the thumb made enough improvement over the last two days for him to manage the pain when he’s at the plate.
"It’s good enough to play," said Beltre, who sprained the thumb sliding at second in a May 31 game against Boston. "It improved. I was expecting it to be faster. I just want to be in there and I just waited until I was good enough to swing that bat and that was today."