Oakland's Matt Olson, a Parkview grad, racked up five RBIs that included a first-inning grand slam to back the solid pitching of starter Mike Fiers as the visiting Athletics walloped the hapless Texas Rangers 10-6 on Friday in Arlington, Texas, in the first of a four-game series between the American League West rivals.
The Athletics (28-15) increased their division-leading lead over idle Houston to seven games, their largest margin since 2013. Oakland has now won three games in a row and six of its past nine contests after four consecutive postponements because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.
The stage was set early on for this blowout when Texas starter Luis Garcia, who was only scheduled to pitch the opening inning, walked the game's first three batters before allowing a titanic grand slam to Olson that spotted the Athletics a 4-0 lead.
After Texas responded with a run in the bottom of the first, Oakland added three more in the second, including Olson's run-scoring single, and another tally in the third to push its lead to 8-1.
Texas clawed back to 9-4 in the seventh and then 9-6 in the eighth, with the latter uprising coming on a two-run home run from Rougned Odor.
The loss was the second straight for the Rangers (15-29) and eighth setback in their past 10 games.
Fiers (5-2) left in the seventh after surrendering a leadoff home run to Elvis Andrus and two walks. He allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits and two walks in six-plus innings while striking out five after being staked to the big early lead.
J.B. Wendelken, T.J. McFarland and Joakim Soria pitched an inning each to finish up for Oakland.
Sean Murphy had two hits, including a home run, for the Athletics, while Olson, Robbie Grossman, Tommy La Stella and Marcus Siemen also had two hits each for Oakland.
Garcia (0-2) did not retire any of the four batters he faced and took the loss for Texas. Jordan Lyles, the third of four Rangers pitchers, hurled seven innings in relief, allowing five runs on nine hits in mop-up work.
--Field Level Media