By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have never lost a game started by Mike Fiers against the Texas Rangers.
Fiers allowed only an unearned run over six innings in a 3-1 win on Wednesday night, when the A’s opted to play after three other Major League Baseball games were postponed when those teams decided to sit out. Oakland players still planned to discuss whether to play the series finale in Texas on Thursday in the wake of the weekend shooting by police of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin.
Manager Bob Melvin said his team had discussed whether to take the field Wednesday, but “it was really close to game time” and they decided to play. Melvin still gave players the option to sit out if they didn’t feel comfortable taking the field.
“It was just kind of too rushed when it came to us before we got together, and everybody was pretty united in playing.,” Melvin said. “Our guys said, we’re going to play tonight, and tomorrow we’ll discuss it as a group. … They wanted to be united as a group in what we did.”
No Oakland players were made available to speak with the media after the game.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said there were some individual conversations with his players and they were OK playing, “but we were going to fully support their option not to if they chose that.”
Woodward was aware of the discussions by the A’s before the game about possibly not playing.
“We were going to fully support that if they didn’t,” Woodward said.
The three games postponed Wednesday — the Cincinnati Reds and Brewers in Milwaukee, Seattle Mariners and Padres in San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants in San Francisco — will be made up as part of doubleheaders Thursday.
Fiers (4-1) struck out seven and scattered three hits in his six innings. He is 6-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last nine starts against Texas, with his team winning every one of those games — the first two for the Detroit Tigers in 2018 before he was traded to the A’s late that season.
Oakland has the American League’s best record at 22-10, including a 19-6 mark record in August for its most wins in any month since also winning 19 in September 2013. Texas has lost 10 of its last 11 games.
The A’s didn’t have a hit until Stephen Piscotty’s one-out RBI single in the sixth inning that tied the game at 1-1, right after young Texas lefty Kolby Allard (0-3) walked the previous two batters. Allard then issued another walk to load the bases before reliever Luis Garcia’s wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run.
The last time Texas lost more consecutive games started by an individual pitcher was 12 in a row by Bartolo Colon from August 2003 until May 2007, for the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels.
“Fiers was as good as we’ve seen him all year. And he’s gotten progressively better every game,” Melvin said. “And the bullpen came in and did what they’ve been doing.”
Former Rangers relievers Joakim Soria and Jake Diekman each had a scoreless inning before Liam Hendricks worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances. Diekman has not allowed a run in his first 12 appearances, and Hendricks has converted 10 consecutive save chances.
Oakland had three consecutive singles to start the seventh against Jonathan Hernandez, who then hit Robbie Grossman with a pitch to force in a run. Nick Goody, activated from the injured list Wednesday after missing 12 games because of back spasms, struck out the next three batters.
The only Texas run came on catcher Sean Murphy’s throwing error on a double steal with two outs in the third that allowed both runners to take an extra base.
Allard, the youngest Rangers pitcher after turning 23 earlier this month, struck out five and walked four in his fifth start since taking over the rotation spot of injured two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman didn’t start a night after getting hit by a pitch off the ear flap of his batting helmet, but entered the game as a defense replacement in the eighth inning. Melvin said Chapman came him during the game and wanted to play.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor missed his second game in a row with an infection in his right eye that manager Chris Woodward called “pretty significant.” … Shin-Soo Choo was back in the lineup after missing six games with calf and oblique issues.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (2-1, 2.97) pitches the finale of the four-game series for the Athletics. Rangers starter Jordan Lyles (1-3, 9.25) gave up eight runs in four innings Saturday at Seattle, and his 26 runs allowed are the second-most in the majors.