A's right-hander sees bid end on Napoli's solo homer
By T.R. Sullivan and Jane Lee
ARLINGTON -- Athletics right-hander Kendall Graveman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before settling for a 6-1 victory over the Rangers at Globe Life Park on Saturday night.
Graveman retired 20 of the first 21 batters he faced, allowing only a second-inning walk to Rougned Odor. But the no-hit bid came to an end with two outs in the seventh when Mike Napoli crushed a 94-mph sinker into the visitors' bullpen for a home run.
Graveman then gave up a single to Odor before retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a line drive to short. That was it for Graveman, who did not come out for the eighth having thrown 85 pitches. He has now won his first two starts of the season. More >
"It's definitely a good feeling knowing you have good stuff that night and that you haven't allowed a hit, but then there's also a sense of, hey, you got to continue to attack and you can't walk anyone because then the tying run is at the plate," Graveman said. "I think we did a good job of attacking, and a solo home run didn't beat us."
Yu Darvish took the loss despite allowing just one run over six innings. He began with five scoreless before walking Matt Joyce to start the sixth. Ryon Healy's double moved Joyce to third, and he scored on a groundout to second by Stephen Vogt.
"We battled, and Yu gave us a chance to win," Lucroy said. "He did the best job he could; we just ran into a really good arm tonight. It was pretty tough."
"Darvish was outstanding as well today in his own way," Vogt said, "but Kendall outpitched him, and he's the guy we know can go out and do that for us every time out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Key error sets up insurance run:Yonder Alonso, with the Athletics leading 1-0, led off the seventh with a single. Mark Canha followed with a grounder to Napoli, the Rangers first baseman, who tried for the double play at second. But his throw went into left field and allowed Alonso to go to third. He scored on Rajai Davis' sacrifice fly.
Missed fly ball costs three: Another defensive lapse cost the Rangers in the eighth even though it wasn't scored an error. The Athletics, leading 2-1, had a runner on second with two out in the eighth against reliever Dario Alvarez when Jed Lowrie hit a fly ball deep down the right-field line. Nomar Mazara got there but had trouble with a swirling wind and couldn't make a catch. It went for a run-scoring double and Alonso followed with a two-run home run on his 30th birthday.
"The wind was obviously a factor but that ball needs to be caught," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Napoli's home run was hardly a no-doubter. The exit velocity was 100.9 mph, the launch angle was 28 degrees and the distance was 420 feet. According to Statcast™, the hit probability was 71 percent, and that ball is a home run less than six out of 10 times.
DARVISH GETS FIRST PICKOFF
Davis doubled with one out in the fifth but was then picked off by Darvish. It was Darvish's first pickoff of his Major League career coming in his 102nd start. Over the past 20 years, Darvish had been one of nine pitchers who had made at least 100 starts without picking a runner off base.
"My old pitching coach Mike Maddux told me Davis likes to steal on the first pitch," Darvish said. "I asked if I could use the inside move and they said yes."
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's will have left-hander Sean Manaea on the mound for Sunday's 12:05 p.m. PT finale against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Manaea made four starts against Texas as a rookie last year, going 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA.
Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez pitches for the Rangers against the Athletics at 2:05 CT Sunday. Perez is 5-5 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 career starts against Oakland.