Yohel Pozo, Rangers hope to win second straight vs. A’s

MLB

While Texas momentarily cooled off the Oakland Athletics, the Rangers could use a run of their own.

The Rangers will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time in almost two weeks when they continue their series with the A’s on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.

A loser in eight of nine entering Friday’s series opener, Texas got a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning from touted prospect Yohel Pozo in his major league debut and pulled out an 8-6 win over Oakland. The result snapped the Athletics’ seven-game winning streak and the Rangers’ five-game slide versus Oakland.

Perhaps the presence of Pozo, who was batting .337 with 19 homers at Triple-A Round Rock, can propel the Rangers on a needed run. Texas, which had totaled a single run in each of its two games prior to Friday, is 2-8 since winning three straight from July 31-Aug. 2.

“You can’t give (guys like Pozo) that experience at Triple-A,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “It’s not the same.

“This is what it’s all about. This is where they dream to play.”

Oakland, meanwhile, will try to bounce back from just its third loss in 14 games.

The Athletics’ scheduled Saturday starter, James Kaprielian (6-4, 3.22 ERA), has been rather solid against the Rangers this season, going 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four starts. In his first appearance after sit out for 11 days with a shoulder issue, the rookie right-hander allowed two runs and three hits over six innings of a 6-3 home win over Texas on Sunday.

Kaprielian has lasted six innings in three of his four outings against the Rangers.

Texas’ own standout rookie, Adolis Garcia, is 3-for-12 this season versus Kaprielian, but two of those hits were home runs. Garcia is batting just .152 (7-for-46) with 18 strikeouts in 12 games this month.

Texas’ Jordan Lyles (5-9, 5.46 ERA) hopes he’s more effective in this scheduled start than he was against Kaprielian and the A’s on Sunday. In that contest, the right-hander allowed six runs, matched a season high by yielding 10 hits and walked four in 5 1/3 innings.

Lyles, 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three 2021 outings (two starts) versus Oakland, is 0-4 with a 7.45 ERA in five starts since winning three consecutive decisions from June 27-July 9.

Oakland’s Starling Marte is 4-for-4 versus Lyles this season while Mark Canha is 4-for-6 against him in 2021. Riding an 11-game hitting streak, Marte is batting .397 (23-for-58) with 10 RBIs in 13 contests since coming over from Miami.

“The guy does it all,” Kaprielian said recently about Marte. “He uses all the fields. Unbelievable approach at the plate. He’s just a weapon.

“You look at the guy and he’s built like a big-leaguer. (The A’s) did a great job bringing him into this clubhouse. He fits right in, and we love having him in the lineup.”

Marte is 9-for-20 (.450) with six RBIs in four games against the Rangers since joining the A’s.

–Field Level Media

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