By MICHAEL WAGAMAN
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Max Scherzer had six strikeouts and pitched three-hit ball over seven innings and the Texas Rangers extended their longest winning streak in seven years to eight games, beating the last-place Oakland Athletics 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner whom the Rangers acquired in a trade from the Mets on July 30, worked efficiently through the worst offense in the majors in front of another sparse crowd of 5,419 at the Coliseum.
The 39-year-old right-hander retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until JJ Bleday’s leadoff homer in the fourth. Scherzer also walked two.
Corey Seager had three hits including his 19th home run for the surging Rangers. Marcus Semien, Robbie Grossman and Sam Huff added two hits apiece.
Under first-year Texas manager Bruce Bochy, the Rangers (68-46) have already matched their win total from last season and lead the Houston Astros by three games in the AL West.
Texas’ win streak is the longest active in the majors and longest by the Rangers since winning 10 straight from May 9-19, 2017.
The Rangers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016 but have a strong chance to end that drought this season, especially after trading for Scherzer (11-4).
The eight-time All-Star, who pitched six innings and allowed three runs against the Chicago White Sox in his Rangers’ debut on Aug. 3, was even better in his first road start with his new team and beat the A’s for the fourth time in eight outings.
Scherzer allowed only one runner past second base, struck out the side in the fifth and got plenty of defensive help from right fielder Adolis García, who made a pair of sliding catches to take hits away from the A’s.
Brock Burke relieved Scherzer and recorded the final six outs.
Texas also had plenty of offense. Seven players had at least one hit while five had one RBI or more. Most of the damage came against A’s starter JP Sears (2-9).
Sears had six strikeouts in four innings but allowed nine hits and four runs and lost for the third time in his last four starts.
Bleday’s ninth home run of the season broke up Scherzer’s bid for a third career no-hitter and was the lone highlight for an A’s team that lost its 82nd game of the season, assuring Oakland of its second consecutive losing season.
ROSTER MOVES Athletics: Claimed RHP Spenser Watkins off waivers from the Astros and optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. … Optioned RHP Dany Jiménez to Las Vegas and recalled RHP Adrián Martinez for his second time this season.
Athletics: RHP Drew Rucinski is out for the rest of the season after undergoing successful surgery on his lumbar spine in Los Angeles.
Rangers LHP Jordan Montgomery (7-9, 3.40 ERA) pitches the series finale Wednesday. Montgomery has faced Oakland four times in his career without earning a decision. The Athletics will go with RHP Freddy Tarnok (0-1, 6.75) but may use an opener before Tarnok.