Oakland 7, Texas 6 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 14-14
The A's rode their 2-3-4 hitters to the victory line yesterday, as Daric Barton, Ryan Sweeney and Kevin Kouzmanoff went 8 for 11 with a walk, scoring 4 runs and accounting for all 7 RBI (with a career-high 5 from Sweeney, who also homered). The offense destroyed Scott Feldman in the first 4 innings before getting absolutely shut down for the final 4. Feldman was leaving a lot of pitches up and the A's (well, those 3 at least) capitalized with a lot of hard hit balls on their way to 5-0 and 7-4 leads.
Unfortunately, Vin Mazzaro was unable to perform after being staked to a 5-0 lead, walking 4 in 3+ innings and giving up a grand slam to Vlad Guerrero. Mazzaro's stuff is fringy as it is and if he can't locate, he's going to get beat up, which is exactly what happened yesterday. I really, really wanted the A's to sign Guerrero this offseason and while he's lost about 8 steps and some power, he's hitting well (.337/.383/.480) so far, and makes the A's decision to re-sign Jack Cust look even worse.
The Rangers made the game way more interesting than it had to be, rallying in every inning but the 8th (where the A's used 3 pitchers to get a 1-2-3 inning) and putting a runner at 2nd with 0 out in the 9th before Andrew Bailey shut the door. Mazzaro's short start gave the bullpen a heavy load, and they mostly delivered, getting through 6 innings and giving up just 2 runs and locking down the win.
Geren treated this game like a must-win, and I like that approach --- every game is important, especially against what looks to be the best team in the division, and wearing out the bullpen was worth the victory. It does put a lot of pressure on Trevor Cahill to give them some innings today (though Chad Gaudin and Tyson Ross, the two long men, did not pitch yesterday) before the off-day Thursday. A win today would give the A's the series win and put them back in 1st place --- probably the biggest game of the year thus far.