OAKLAND (AP) — The Texas Rangers trailed by five runs against a resurgent All-Star pitcher, and found a way to rally for a win. That’s how things have been going for them lately.
Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor both homered twice to lead Texas to a 7-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night, giving the Rangers their fifth win in six games.
“Huge win for us because it did not look good,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “It goes to another chapter in the book of what these guys are writing this year of staying engaged.”
And with the Rangers off to their best start in club history through 67 games — at a league-best 41-26 — their fans are already glued to the script.
“We never give up,” Chirinos said. “That’s what’s special about this team.”
The Rangers’ power surge has been special too. Texas has homered 17 times in the first six games of a 10-game road trip.
The A’s lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
Three of Chirinos’ four homers on the season have come in the last two days. Chirinos hit a solo homer off A’s reliever John Axford (3-2) in the top of the seventh inning that broke a 5-5 tie.
Texas trailed 5-0 in the sixth when Chirinos started a five-run rally with a leadoff homer off starter Sonny Gray. Odor’s two-run homer off Gray tied the score. He added a solo shot — his 12th — in the eighth off Sean Doolittle.
Gray, a 2015 all-star who’s bounced back from a slow start since coming off the disabled list on June 5, was dominant through five innings.
“I left some pitches up and they didn’t really miss,” Gray said. “Yeah, I felt the first five innings were really good. But it’s just something I’m going to have to figure out a little bit. Moving forward, I’m going to have to figure out a way to combat this thing late in the game.”
Recent call-up Nick Martinez (1-1) pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief of Rangers starter Derek Holland, who allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
“It definitely feels good,” Martinez said. “My first outing here wasn’t that great, I wanted to show these guys I could pitch.”
Sam Dyson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.
Jake Smolinski hit a two-run homer — his third — and Billy Burns had two hits for Oakland.
Jurickson Profar has impressed since taking over third base for Adrian Beltre, who’s been out of the Texas lineup since straining a hamstring on June 8. Originally drafted as a shortstop, Profar hadn’t played third since 2013, when he logged the only 10 games he had seen there before this year. “His aptitude is at a high level,” Banister said. “To be able to do that, the interest had to be there. There is a thirst for learning and a desire to be better than most.”
Rangers: 3B Beltre will likely return to the lineup in Thursday’s series finale, Banister said. ... DH Prince Fielder is expected to play first base on Thursday.
A’s: RHP Henderson Alvarez will make a rehab start for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday and could make his next start after that with Oakland, A’s manager Bob Melvin said. Alvarez threw a 45-pitch bullpen session in Oakland on Wednesday. ... OF Josh Reddick, on the DL since May 20 with a fractured left thumb, is ahead of schedule and will take batting practice on Friday. If all goes well the next step would be a rehab assignment. ... RHP Zach Neal could start Saturday’s game against the Angels in place of LHP Sean Manaea, who went on the DL on Tuesday with a strained left forearm. ... OF Coco Crisp is expected to be back in the starting lineup on Thursday after a second straight day off Wednesday. Melvin said he wanted to rest the veteran outfielder.
A’s: RHP Daniel Mengden, acquired last season from the Astros in the Scott Kazmir trade, will make his second career start and his first for Oakland. Mengden, who hadn’t pitched above Class A before this year, took the loss in his major league debut in Cincinnati on Saturday when he allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Rangers: At 36, RHP Colby Lewis is 5-0 to start a season for the first time in his career. He leads the league in quality starts with 11 and has held opponents to a .202 batting average (39 for 193) over his last eight starts.