By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange
OAKLAND, Calif. — Right-hander Jharel Cotton pitched six strong innings, Matt Olson hit a two-run homer and Matt Chapman added a solo shot, lifting the Oakland Athletics to an 8-3 victory against the Texas Rangers and a sweep of their three-game series.
The Rangers (64-66) fell three games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Cotton (7-10) allowed two runs on four hits and matched a career high with nine strikeouts to win his second consecutive game after losing three straight.
Olson went 3-for-4 with his ninth home run and scored twice. Chapman went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer and scored three runs.
Shin-Soo Choo hit his 16th home run for the Rangers, a solo shot. Adrian Beltre doubled twice and scored once.
Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (6-5), a former Athletic, allowed three runs on five hits, including two home runs, over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three in his second start at the Coliseum against the A’s.
Texas grabbed the initial lead for the third straight game, this time scoring an unearned run in the top of the second inning. Beltre hit a leadoff double and scored from third with one out when A’s second baseman Jed Lowrie dropped Mike Napoli’s pop-up.
Oakland answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Matt Joyce led off with a single, and Olson launched a two-run shot into the right-field seats with one out. Chapman followed with a solo shot over the high wall in left-center field.
The Rangers cut Oakland’s lead to 3-2 in the fifth when Choo homered into the right-field seats.
Oakland made it 4-2 in the sixth. Chapman hit a leadoff single, went to third on Bruce Maxwell’s single and scored on Marcus Semien’s force out.
The Rangers cut Oakland’s lead to 4-3 in the eighth. Carlos Gomez lined a leadoff single to center off reliever Chris Hatcher, went to second on a passed ball and scored from third with one out on Elvis Andrus’ single to center.
Beltre followed with a double off the base of the left-center field wall that left fielder Mark Canha appeared to misjudge, moving Andrus to third. Nomar Mazara was intentionally walked, loading the bases.
Reliever Blake Treinen took over, and Napoli lined out to third baseman Chapman, who raced to third to double off Andrus.
The A’s scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth, three of them unearned thanks to a throwing erro by second baseman Rougned Odor. Olson, Chapman, Semien and Khris Davis each singled.