OAKLAND, Calif. — Yoenis Cespedes homered in a three-run first inning against Matt Garza, and the Rangers’ offense couldn’t recover in a 4-2 loss to Oakland on Saturday afternoon.
Garza pitched a complete game, but the Rangers saw their winning streak snapped at five and fell 3 ½ games behind the A’s in the American League West.
The Rangers had closed within 3-2 after an RBI single by Adrian Beltre in the third and a solo homer from Ian Kinsler in the fifth off Jarrod Parker, but the A’s added some cushion in the seventh with a squeeze bunt by Eric Sogard.
Alberto Callaspo, the only batter Garza walked, scored the final Oakland run. Garza allowed eight hits, but four after the A’s put the Rangers in a 3-0 hole in the first.
Oakland’s leadoff man, Coco Crisp, started the rally with a bunt hit, was bunted to second by Sogard and scored on a single by Jed Lowrie.
Cespedes followed with a two-run shot to left-center, only the second homer since June 21 for the player who won the Home Run Derby.
Brandon Moss followed with a single, but Garza would retired the next nine and 12 of the next 13 as the Rangers moved within striking distance.
They had chances against Parker, beginning in the first inning when Leonys Martin started the game with a double. Martin and Andrus reached with one out in the third, but Kinsler struck out before Beltre floated a single into shallow right field for the Rangers’ first run.
The Rangers put runners at first and second in the fourth before Parker got Martin swinging. The Rangers finished 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
-- Jeff Wilson