ARLINGTON, Texas — Joey Wendle led off the game with his first major league homer and the Oakland Athletics were off to a fast start in yet another victory over Yu Darvish.
Marcus Semien added a three-run blast off the Texas Rangers ace who has long struggled against the AL West rival, and the A’s won 11-2 on Saturday night.
“I think it was more command with him. What, he walked three guys in a row? Just not really like him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It was just an off night for him command-wise.”
Raul Alcantara (1-1), among five A’s pitchers who have made their MLB debuts this season with a start, worked into the sixth. The right-hander allowed two runs, on Carlos Gomez’s homer in the sixth, with three strikeouts and no walks in his third career start.
“He ran out of gas a little bit in the sixth, but he was getting some funky swings from some really good hitters. So it’s good to see,” Melvin said. “I know he feels good about the outing. It gives you a lot of confidence going forward knowing that you can pitch against a lineup like this and have some success. You could just see his confidence grow as the game went along.”
Darvish (5-5) allowed seven runs, matching his career high, over five innings. The right-hander struck out eight but also walked four, including three batters in a row to start the second, to fall to 2-9 in 13 career starts against the A’s. No other MLB team has beaten him more than four times.
“I noticed that early the fastball command wasn’t there. So you get him looking in one spot,” Semien said. “He’s going to throw it in there. He throws a lot of offspeed too, so we were able to key in on one pitch and did a good job.”
When Darvish last faced Oakland — a day after his 30th birthday exactly a month ago Saturday — he struck out nine and walked one in seven innings in a 6-2 victory. Before that, he had gone 0-8 in 10 starts against time since winning against them more than four years earlier in his eighth game after coming from Japan.
Wendle, a rookie second baseman in his 15th career game, hit a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats for a 1-0 lead, and his sac fly in the second inning made it 4-0.
After Darvish walked the bases loaded to start the second, Bruce Maxwell singled up the middle to drive home two runs. Wendle hit his sac fly after Brett Eibner struck out.
Semien’s 26th homer, with two outs in the fifth, put the A’s up 7-0.
“I’ve been having good command throughout this year. Today I didn’t have it,” Darvish said through his translator. “I think it’s because I wasn’t getting a good feel for it physically, and a feel for the pitches. I’m not talking about pain or anything, it’s just the feel. I just didn’t pitch well today.”
Oakland, already guaranteed consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 2007-09, won for the fifth time its last six games. … The A’s have scored 60 runs their last six games, after only 41 runs the previously 15.
Athletics: Right-hander Sonny Gray, out since Aug. 7 with a strained right forearm, threw all of his pitches during a 31-pitch bullpen session. He will get a couple of days off before another bullpen, and could still potentially pitch in another game this season. …
Athletics: Since eight scoreless innings in his first start for Oakland, lefty Ross Detwiler is 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA his last seven games (six starts).
Rangers: Colby Lewis (6-2, 3.31) makes his only his second start since a two-month stint on the DL with a strained right lat.