OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — With a walk, a couple of hits and a throwing error before he even retired his first batter, Kendall Graveman’s Oakland debut was nothing like his brilliant spring training.
Graveman was knocked out in the fourth inning after allowing home runs to Shin-Soo Choo and Mitch Moreland and the Athletics fell 10-1 to the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
“I didn’t make a lot of pitches and I didn’t locate well and they made me pay for it,” Graveman said.
It was a far cry from his first spring with the A’s after being acquired in the offseason from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson deal. He allowed just one earned run in six starts and his 0.36 ERA was the lowest in the majors.
But he gave up three runs in a sloppy first, followed by Moreland’s two-run homer in the third and Choo’s three-run shot in the fourth that ended his day early. Graveman (0-1) allowed eight runs — seven earned — and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings.
“He was in fast forward today and couldn’t slow himself down,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “We talked about that in the first inning but he was excited. We’re not worried about him. He’s going to pitch some great games for us.”
Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor added solo home runs for the Rangers, who were shut out twice and held to three runs total in the first three games.
“It’s always nice to go out and put some runs on the board, create a lot of opportunity,” Moreland said. “We really set the pace early there. It kind of carried over throughout the game.”
The early offense gave Nick Martinez (1-0) plenty of support and helped Texas earn a split of the season-opening four-game series.
Martinez gave up four hits in seven scoreless innings, his sixth straight start with two or fewer earned runs allowed.
“Having that run support early and often definitely gives you that extra confidence that you need,” Martinez said.
Graveman’s day got off to an inauspicious start when he walked Leonys Martin to lead off the game, allowed a single to Choo and then made a throwing error on a pickoff throw to second.
That’s when things really got weird. The Rangers scored their first run when Beltre hit a grounder to third base and Vogt dropped Brett Lawrie’s throw home for an error.
After an RBI single by Prince Fielder and a sacrifice fly by Moreland, Elvis Andrus hit a grounder to Lawrie with runners on first and third. Lawrie threw to second for the force, but umpire Doug Eddings ruled Eric Sogard’s foot was off the bag. Sogard then threw home and Fielder was caught in a rundown.
The A’s challenged the play and the umpires ruled Sogard kept his foot in on the bag for a 5-4-2-5-2-6 double play.
The Rangers, held to three runs in the first three games, put the game away with their first four home runs of the season. Beltre’s was the most impressive, a shot hit with his back knee on the ground.
“I’d seen him a couple of times hit a homer like that,” Choo said. “I’d seen it on TV before but to see it in a game is a little bit different than on TV. Pretty impressive.”
Rangers: Transferred LHP Matt Harrison (back) to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for OF Alex Hassan, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland.
Athletics: LHP Sean Doolittle, sidelined by a shoulder injury, threw from 90 feet Wednesday and is scheduled to do so again Friday and Sunday before moving back early next week.
DUCKS ON THE POND
Choo hit his first three-run homer since Aug. 15, 2012, when he was with Cleveland against the Angels. Choo hit 12 of his 13 homers last season for Texas with the bases empty, with one two-run shot against Detroit.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland will start the home opener for Texas against Collin McHugh and the Houston Astros.
Athletics: LHP Drew Pomeranz makes his first start of the season as Oakland gets its first look at Seattle. The Mariners will start Taijuan Walker.
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