RANGERS (53-51) AT ATHLETICS (58-47)
9:07 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, MLBN, FSSW, MLB.TV
Elvis Andrus is expected to play for the first time as a United States citizen Saturday when the visiting Texas Rangers (-1.5) take on the Oakland Athletics (-1.5) on what has coincidentally been scheduled as a fireworks night by the San Francisco Bay.
Andrus, a 30-year-old Venezuela native, left the team to participate in the testing and ceremony Friday in Dallas.
The shortstop rushed back to Oakland for the game but was given the night off to relax and enjoy watching a 5-2 Rangers win that capped a memorable day.
“It has been a long day,” Andrus said. “I’m really happy, really blessed and really honored to be a citizen. The whole day went really well. They treated me really nice. They gave me some tough questions, but I really studied a lot the last week.
“Everything was amazing. I had fun there; they did the orientation, too. I’m an American.”
The Rangers played Danny Santana in Andrus’ place at shortstop, and the night got off to a disastrous start for the utility man. He booted the Athletics’ first two batted balls of the game, helping Oakland score an unearned run in the first inning.
Santana played flawlessly the rest of the night at shortstop but went 0-for-5 at the plate with three strikeouts.
Fortunately for the Rangers, everyone else played error-free, Willie Calhoun had a big game on offense with an RBI double and a home run, and Lance Lynn was overpowering on the mound, striking out eight in six innings.
Texas will go for three straight in the series Saturday behind right-hander Adrian Sampson (6-7, 5.19 ERA), who pitched the first — and still only — complete game of his career in a 3-1 home win over the A’s in June.
He has faced the A’s four times in his career, twice as a starter, and is 1-0 with a 5.51 ERA. Both of his starts against them have been in Texas.
Newcomer Homer Bailey (8-7, 5.42 ERA) will be tasked with ending Oakland’s three-game losing streak.
The veteran has started twice since being acquired by the A’s earlier this month, winning 10-2 at home against Seattle before losing 11-1 at Houston.
He had never faced the Rangers in his 13-year career until going head-to-head with them twice earlier this season while with Kansas City. He lost both starts, 16-1 and 6-2, running up a 10.13 ERA.
If there’s a positive for Bailey in seeing the Rangers again, it’s that he won’t have to deal with injured Joey Gallo this time. The slugger homered against Bailey in each of the first two meetings.
The A’s have been held to five runs through the first two games of the series as they await the return of outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who has been out since June 30 due to a sprained right knee.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced before Friday’s game that Piscotty would be starting an injury-rehab assignment in the minors this weekend, with hopes of being able to rejoin the club before the nine-game homestand is complete.
“He wants some at-bats,” Melvin said. “I think we’ll just feel it out and see how his leg is responding and how his at-bats go. I know he wants to feel good when he comes back here.”
–Field Level Media