ARLINGTON -- In a subdued locker room after the game, Athletics starting pitcher Brett Anderson was brutally honest about his performance. "That's the worst game I've ever thrown in the big leagues," he said. "It was a perfect storm of not having command and stuff. It was going over the plate and they were barreling it up." Anderson allowed six earned runs and threw 83 pitches over his four innings as the A's fell, 14-1, to the Rangers on Saturday. The 14 runs allowed tied a season high.
It was the fourth straight loss for the A's, who have lost nine of their past 11 and 16 of their past 23 on the road. The Athletics are 11 games behind the Rangers for the American League West lead, their largest deficit of the season. "It's still May," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "You keep pressing on. I told the guys this was an awful game and for them to put it behind them. Everybody agreed, and they're going to be ready to go tomorrow." Anderson pitched two scoreless innings to start the game but was hit around the next two frames. "The first two innings, I got 'em on smoke and mirrors," he said. "Their top of the lineup is tough." The second time through the Rangers' lineup was just that for Anderson. He struck out the leadoff hitter in the third inning but then allowed a single to Elvis Andrus, the Rangers' No. 9 hitter. He allowed a walk, double and single to the top of the Rangers' order. That scored the first three runs for the Rangers. Anderson then allowed back-to-back home runs to lead off the fourth. (It was the second time in two days the Athletics allowed back-to-back home runs to the Rangers.) Young doubled home another run four batters later. Geren recognized Anderson wasn't pitching up to his talent. "Brett really did not have his best stuff," Geren said. "His velocity was down, the crispness on his pitches was down, his energy was down. He just didn't have his best stuff tonight. All of his pitches weren't the same." Anderson felt fine coming out of the bullpen and said only his slider wasn't working. He has gone 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts against the Rangers. Anderson had a no-decision on April 28 in Arlington when he allowed one earned run over five innings pitched. That outing was almost the exact opposite for Anderson. He said that his pitches nearly had too much movement, which caused him to give up three walks. The Athletics had an excellent opportunity to put a few runs on the board in the first inning but only scored once. Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy allowed three walks and a double but limited the amount of damage with a double play and an easy infield popup. McCarthy walked the two first batters to start the inning, but Matt Holliday hit into a double play on a 2-0 count. "We had our chances in the first to bust it open, but we didn't," Geren said. "Your No. 3 hitter, your No. 4 hitter, you trust to bust the game open if they get a good pitch. I'm sure his average on 2-0 counts is pretty darned good." Geren's guess is correct: Entering Saturday's game, Holliday was batting .457 (42-for-92) on 2-0 counts. The Athletics scored their only run when Kurt Suzuki doubled home Orlando Cabrera in the first inning. McCarthy retired the next 12 hitters before Gregorio Petit singled. Petit was called up from Triple-A before the game after the Athletics placed outfielder Travis Buck on the disabled list. Petit went 1-for-3. The A's have used the DL twice this week and 10 times this season. They set a record last season when they used the DL 25 times. Since 2007, the A's have used the disabled list 57 times. Relief pitcher Jeff Gray was also optioned to Triple-A before the game. Outfielder Aaron Cunningham was also recalled from Triple-A. He went 0-for-4. Jack Hannahan was scratched from the lineup about 30 minutes before game time with back spasms. Jack Cust was already sidelined Saturday with the same injury. He dressed gingerly before the game. Having Hannahan and Cust unable to play left Geren's bench two players short.
Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.