Rangers blank A's, move closer to home field

Rangers blank A's, move closer to home field

OAKLAND -- The Rangers went with a makeshift lineup on Saturday, the day after clinching the American League West title, but not every regular could get the afternoon off.

The Rangers only have so many players on the bench, so Elvis Andrus had to play. He ended up having a day to remember as he hit two home runs in a game for the first time in his career in a 5-0 victory over the Athletics at the Coliseum. The victory left the Rangers 92-63, the best record in the American League.

"I wasn't trying to hit home runs, except for my last at-bat," Andrus said. "Adrian Beltre told me I should, because it would be the only chance in my career to hit three home runs in a game."

Both home runs came off of A's starter Raul Alcantara, who took the loss by allowing four runs in six innings. Oakland has lost five straight in its attempt to avoid a second straight last-place finish.

Alcantara strikes out Gallo

"I thought he threw the ball well today. It ended up being two pitches for him," said A's manager Bob Melvin, after his club was shut out for a second straight day. "On a day when you don't score any runs, two pitches will end up hurting you."

Alcantara's consistency, command improving

After averaging over nine runs per game while winning six of seven on their most recent road trip, the A's have scored just eight runs on their current five-game losing streak.

"We were playing so well when we came back," said Melvin. "We were scoring runs in bunches, we won six out of seven, had a chance to sweep seven in a row. We really had a good feeling coming in here and haven't been able to sustain anything when we've been home."

Darvish's scoreless outing

Rangers starter Yu Darvish dominated for seven innings, allowing just two singles and a walk while striking out nine. He is now 6-5 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 starts with one more to go before the postseason begins.

Yu tosses 7 scoreless, earns first Coliseum W

Andrus sets new highs: Andrus' pair of two-run home runs gave him eight home runs and 68 RBIs on the year. Both are new career highs. The second-inning homer went to center with an exit velocity of 104 miles per hour and a Statcast-projected distance of 420 feet from home plate. His sixth-inning shot left at 102 miles per hour and was projected at 411 feet.

Andrus discusses two-homer game

"We gave the majority of our regulars the day off, but Elvis said he wanted to play," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I'm glad he was in the lineup."

Davis' hot bat goes cold: Khris Davis has erupted offensively vs. the Rangers this year, entering this most recent series with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs against the club. But he has been largely ineffective the past two days, going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts.

Melvin on 5-0 loss to Rangers

Rua, Hoying take advantage: Ryan Rua started for only the fourth time in September, playing first base for the Rangers. He also played the whole game for the first time since Aug. 5, and he went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. He also scored on Andrus' second home run. Jared Hoying made his first start since June 8 and went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, scoring twice.

Chirinos' RBI double

A's bats stay silent: The A's offense has had little firepower during their final homestand of the 2016 season. Saturday was no different, as the club didn't place a runner in scoring position until the fifth inning when they had runners on first and second with one out. That scoring opportunity quickly passed, too, as Jake Smolinski and Bruce Maxwell both flied out to end the inning. The A's would later load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Stephen Vogt flied out to center to quell the rally.

Darvish escapes jam in 5th

"Darvish owned us," said Maxwell. "This game is frustrating sometimes. We have our days when we're clicking, and you can't get any of us out. It gets frustrating, but at the same time, it is also a part of the game."

Smolinski appeared to make a phenomenal diving grab to rob Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar of a base hit in the fifth inning. However, Texas challenged that the ball bounced before reaching Smolinski's glove. The call on the field was overturned and Profar was awarded with a single.

Profar gets single on review

Profar then tried to tag up and go to second on Nomar Mazara's flyout to left. Profar appeared to be safe but was called out by umpire Paul Nauert. Profar claimed Joey Wendle pushed him off the bag, but he did not win the argument.

Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis pitches against the A's at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday at the Coliseum. Lewis is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list. He is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA in eight starts on the road.

A's: Right-hander Jharel Cotton will take the mound as the A's play their final home game of the season at 1:05 p.m. PT. Cotton has surrendered just three earned runs in his first three Major League starts.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the A's on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.