ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The only American League chase the Oakland Athletics will win this season is the one to clinch a losing record.
After three consecutive playoff appearances, and with three weeks still left in this regular season, the A’s suffered their 82nd loss Sunday when they fell 12-4 in a series finale against the playoff-contending Texas Rangers.
“We’re just trying to win as many games as we can,” manager Bob Melvin said when asked about the significance of that mark.
It was the seventh loss in 10 games for the A’s (61-82), who after their last losing season in 2011 won consecutive AL West titles before being a wild-card team last year.
Miami and Cincinnati both suffered their 82nd loss Sunday, giving the National League five teams already assured of a losing record.
Oakland trailed 8-0 Sunday before Danny Valencia hit a two-run triple in the sixth and scored on Billy Butler’s single. Rookie catcher Carson Blair homered for his first major league hit an inning later.
Adrian Beltre homered twice to drive in five runs and Shin-Soo Choo also went deep for the Rangers, who stayed within 1 1-2 games of AL West-leading Houston. The Astros open a four-game series Monday in Texas.
Those three homers came off Felix Doubront (3-2) in his seventh appearance for Oakland since being acquired from Toronto.
The left-hander struck out five, but allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. He was gone a batter after Beltre’s second homer, when Prince Fielder reached on an infield single.
“Actually, it might have been the best command we’ve seen since he’s been here. He just got a couple of balls in the wrong spot to Beltre,” Melvin said.
“I’ve been throwing the ball well and getting back with my old stuff,” Doubront said. “Today I was throwing the ball really good until those innings. That happens.”
Rookie right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-5) went 5 1-3 innings for his first victory in the majors since a three-hit shutout at Kansas City on June 5. The Rangers used five relievers after that.
Choo put Texas ahead with his 18th homer, a solo drive onto the hill beyond center in the first. He was on base for both of Beltre’s homers, a two-run shot in the fourth and a three-run blast in the fifth that made it 6-0.
Rougned Odor added a three-run homer in the eighth as Texas stayed one game ahead of Minnesota for the AL’s second wild card — and can now look forward to the Astros.
“We talk about not looking ahead, not getting ahead of ourselves and staying focused on today. We have done a tremendous job at that,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “But they’re well aware of the next four days.”
It was Beltre’s 27th career multihomer game, his first since June 4, 2014. ... The four homers matched a season high for the Rangers, who hadn’t had a four-homer game at home since April 21, 2013.
Athletics: Reliever Edward Mujica strained his right hamstring covering first base on a play in the fifth. ... C Stephen Vogt (groin), out for a week, played catch on the field before the game.
Rangers: Robinson Chirinos is still bothered by soreness in his strained left shoulder. The catcher will see a doctor again when the inflammation subsides.
Athletics: Sonny Gray goes for his 14th win when Oakland opens a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox.
Rangers: Cole Hamels (9-8) was given an extra day of rest, which set the right-hander up to pitch the series opener against Houston. He is 3-0 with a 3.34 ERA in his last five starts.