ARLINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez struggled for the second consecutive start against the Texas Rangers, giving up seven runs in four innings on the way to an 8-5 loss at the Ballpark in Arlington.While the first game was rained out, this one counted. It was the second consecutive loss for the Athletics in a four-game series, and the temperature at first pitch was 105 degrees, the hottest at the start of a game in the ballpark's history. In the rain-canceled game, the Rangers touched up Gonzalez for seven runs on six hits, including a grand slam, in 2 2/3 innings. Friday's line was similar, as Gonzalez gave up seven runs on seven hits, again including a grand slam, in four innings. Gonzalez retired Ian Kinsler to start the first inning, but he allowed back-to-back singles before shortstop Adam Rosales committed an error that allowed a run to score. After another single loaded the bases, Gonzalez fanned Nelson Cruz for the second out. But Mike Napoli clubbed a grand slam, putting the A's in an early hole. "I got the first pitch up in the at-bat, and he did his job," Gonzalez said. "I gave him a good belt-high fastball, and he drilled it. It's a good lineup. You have to give credit where credit is due, these guys are a good hitting team." All four of those runs were unearned, however, because of the error by Rosales, who was filling for Cliff Pennington. It was the first of two errors by Rosales. "Third is probably his least favorite position, but he's played very well at shortstop for us," Melvin said. "The ball just got on him quicker than he thought, and the next one took a funny little hop, but he won't make excuses for it. I'm very confident with him at short." Scott Sizemore hit a solo homer in the second inning to claw back one run, but Gonzalez gave up a pair of solo shots in the bottom half of the inning to make the margin 6-1.
The three home runs Gonzalez allowed weren't just a one-game high for the All-Star left-hander, they tied April for the most home runs he has surrendered in a single month this season. Gonzalez finished the first half with an 8-6 record and 2.47 ERA."They were just on him early," Melvin said. "He gave up a couple home runs, but he kept fighting, kept battling, ended up giving us four [innings]. We battled our way back so that we were at least significant in the game, so in that respect, for a bad outing from him, I'm certainly glad he gave me four." The A's made a rally in the sixth, which began when David DeJesus bunted for a single. He promptly stole second and reached third on a passed ball. When Coco Crisp legged out a single to short, DeJesus scored.
Josh Willingham got his third hit since coming back from the disabled list, smoking a double into the left-field corner. Crisp raced all the way from first to score without a throw.With Willingham on second, no outs, and the A's primed to get back in the game, Rangers All-Star C.J. Wilson struck out the next three hitters to stop the rally dead in its tracks. "I used my brain and didn't try to overpower them," Wilson said. "I just out-located the swing and the strike zone. That's how I got out of that." Down 8-4 in the ninth, the A's also threatened, putting runners on first and third with no outs, but Kurt Suzuki grounded into a double play. While one run scored, that effectively ended the game, and Rosales grounded out to third to make it official. "We had a chance in the ninth to make it real interesting," Melvin said. "Any time you have opportunities when you're down like that, you'd like to expand upon it. We just weren't able to do it." With the loss, the A's now find themselves 10 games behind Texas in the AL West. That is the largest margin all season, but Melvin said he is not concerned with the standings. "I haven't even looked at the division, really. We're at the bottom," Melvin said. "If you look up, you're looking through everybody, and it's just not worth looking that way. We're just trying to play better and play more consistent. Once we start doing that, and we're deeper in the second half, we'll look up a little bit."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.