OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Athletics rookie Ramon Laureano has barely been in the majors for a month, and he’s making quite an impression.
Laureano hit two home runs, Marcus Semien also went deep and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 on Friday night.
Oakland got its fourth win in five games overall and seventh in eight against Texas. The A’s are 30-15 since the All-Star break.
The A’s remain 3 ½ games behind first-place Houston in the AL West and 3 ½ back of the New York Yankees for the top AL wild card. They moved 6 ½ games ahead of Seattle for the second wild card.
Laureano’s multihomer game was the second of his short career. The 24-year-old center fielder homered twice against the Rangers on Aug. 20. He’s hit five home runs through his first 29 games.
Laureano is the first player in franchise history with two multihomer games in the first 30 games of their career.
“That is very impressive based on the fact that you’ve been running (Mark) McGwires and (Jose) Cansecos and Khris Davis and Reggie Jacksons and all those guys through this organization,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It means he’s off to a nice start.”
Laureano homered leading off against Yovani Gallardo (8-4). Gallardo gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Laureano added an opposite field shot to right off Adrian Sampson that started a three-run sixth in which the A’s broke open a 5-2 game.
“It’s pretty cool,” Laureano said. “I just want to focus and keep moving forward. All those accolades, I will reflect on in the offseason. I just want to keep moving forward.”
Semien hit his 12th home run off Gallardo in a four-run second inning.
Texas lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
Joey Gallo was 3 for 4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs.
The Rangers trailed 5-0 in the fourth when Gallo hit a two-run homer — his 35th — off Chris Bassitt.
The Rangers had their chances. They left the bases loaded in the seventh and runners at second and third in the eighth. They were 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
“This is a solid (A’s) bullpen,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “They threw all their guys at us today with the exception of (Lou) Trivino. I loved the at-bats that our guys put together. We continue to battle like that we’re going to break through.”
Yusmeiro Petit (7-3) pitched two innings of shutout relief. He was among seven pitchers the A’s used behind Liam Hendricks, who started and worked a scoreless first inning.
The A’s used a relief pitcher to start a game for the third time in the last week with Hendricks pitching ahead of Bassitt, who pitched three innings. “It’s a product of losing as many starters as we have,” Melvin said.
Manager Jeff Banister said he’ll likely deploy the same strategy this weekend, likely on Sunday with Jeffrey Springs ahead of Ariel Jurado.
OAKLAND’S UNBEATEN STREAK
The A’s are a win away from extending their streak of unbeaten series to 13, which would be an Oakland record. The A’s were 10-0-2 in series going into the Texas set.
Rangers: OF/1B Ryan Rua (back muscle spasms) did running and hitting drills Friday. Banister said he’d have a better idea of his playing status by the end of the weekend.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (strained left forearm) will throw three 15-pitch simulated innings with breaks in between Saturday. If all goes well, Anderson could get a start on the team’s upcoming road trip, which starts Monday. … LHP Sean Manaea (left shoulder impingement) hasn’t resumed baseball activities since going on the DL on Aug. 26 and is unlikely to pitch again this season. … RHP Andrew Triggs (right arm nerve irritation) was shut down after experiencing symptoms of an injury that landed him on the DL on May 18.
LHP Mendez (1-1, 5.59 ERA) has no record in three appearances against Oakland in which he’s given up three earned runs in seven innings. RHP Edwin Jackson (5-3, 2.91) is 0-1 with a 9.35 ERA in two starts against Texas this season.
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