A’s rookie sensation Zach Gelof may be having an even hotter month in September than he had in August, when he won American League Rookie of the Month.
But after tying the game against the Texas Rangers in the top of the seventh with his 11th homer of the season, the Rangers answered back in the bottom of the inning and held on for a 3-2 win over the A’s on Saturday in Arlington.
Gelof’s two-run homer in the seventh off of Rangers reliever Chris Stratton was part of a two-hit day for the rookie shortstop. Gelof has now had multiple hits in six of Oakland’s eight September games.
In August, the 2021 second round pick batted .286 with seven homers, eight doubles and 15 runs batted in. Through eight September games, he’s now batting .353 with one home run, four doubles and four runs batted in.
Oakland Athletics’ Zack Gelof (20) celebrates in the dugout with the team after hitting a two-run home run athat also scored Tony Kemp in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Gelof has been the bright spot for the A’s in an improving second half, though the loss on Saturday dropped Oakland’s record to 44-98. In 50 games since the All-Star break, the A’s have gone 19-31 — a record that, while obviously not great, is more than 100 percentage points better than what the A’s did in the first half (.272 at 25-67).
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Oakland starter Sean Newcomb threw four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out five. Lucas Erceg took the loss (3-4) when he walked three Rangers in a row in the bottom of the seventh. Reliever Francisco Perez came in and threw a wild pitch, allowing Robbie Grossman to score from third.
The A’s had a chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth, when Rangers closer Aroldis Chapman walked Nick Allen with one out and Gelof with two outs. But Chapman got Jordan Diaz to ground out to short to end the threat and the ballgame, setting up Sunday’s rubber match after the A’s won 6-3 on Friday.
The A’s will look to take the series in Texas on Sunday when right-hander Luis Medina (3-8, 5.46 ERA) takes the mound. The Rangers will start right-hander Jon Gray (8-7, 3.85 ERA) as they continue to battle for a playoff spot.