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Shin-Soo Choo’s home run on the first pitch of the game

OAKLAND Jim Palmer Jersey , Calif. (AP) — ensured the Texas Rangers would avoid a third consecutive shutout.A fourth straight strong outing from Mike Minor was just as big for manager Jeff Banister’s ballclub.Minor pitched six scoreless innings of one-hit ball to win his fourth straight, Joey Gallo backed up Choo with his 33rd homer and the Rangers snapped out of their offensive slump to avoid a series sweep, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Wednesday.“Choo getting off early, getting a run on the board, allowed our offense to kind of settle in,” Banister said. “It gave our guys some confidence to go out and swing the bat and attack.”Texas was shut out in the first two games of the series and had a 19-inning scoreless streak before Choo’s leadoff homer on the first pitch from Oakland starter Edwin Jackson (4-3) in the first inning.It was Choo’s fourth game-opening home run this season and the 27th of his career.After Choo walked and scored on Beltre’s single in the third, Gallo opened the fourth with a towering drive off Jackson. Gallo’s 74 home runs since the start of last season are the most by a Rangers player over a two-year span since Mark Teixeira had 76 from 2005-06.“We kept fighting,” Gallo said. “That’s baseball. Sometimes you get shut out and that’s the way it goes. Sometimes things don’t go your way.”Adrian Beltre had a pair of RBI singles to help the Rangers end a six-game losing streak to the A’s. Jurickson Profar added two hits. Elvis Andrus singled and scored after going hitless in his previous 12 at-bats.Stephen Piscotty had an RBI double for Oakland, which fell one game behind Houston in the AL West.“You look at the homestand and you have to feel good about winning the series,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve been playing great and bringing the same attitude every day.”The same could be said of Minor, who has been the Rangers’ most effective starter for the past three weeks.Minor (10-6) was crisp while striking out four and walking one in his most effective start in nearly two months. The lefty, who was scratched from his scheduled start last Friday because of back stiffness, allowed only two runners and faced the minimum through six innings. Both runners were erased on double plays.“I feel good about the zeros on the board, but I think there’s room for improvement,” Minor said. “I still didn’t throw good breaking balls, the changeup was just OK and the fastball location was OK.”Cory Gearrin, Alex Claudio, Chris Martin and Jose Leclerc combined to retire nine batters and complete the four-hitter.The A’s loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Leclerc struck out Nick Martini on a check swing for his sixth save in 10 opportunities.Beltre singled in Andrus in the fifth to make it 4-0 and chase Jackson http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-mark-trumbo-jersey , who allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and lost for the first time since July 20. The right-hander had yielded two runs over his previous 24 1/3 innings.“I was off today,” Jackson said. “I was under the ball a lot and that caused the ball to go flat and up in the zone.”STAYING PUTBecause their next series is across the San Francisco Bay against the Giants at AT&T Park, the Rangers won’t have to board a plane and instead will stay in the same hotel where they’ve been since Monday.TRAINER’S ROOMRangers: Profar started again at third base in place of Beltre, who’s had recurring hamstring problems, and made a diving stop on Ramon Laureano’s sharp grounder in the first inning.UP NEXTRangers: RHP Drew Hutchison (2-2, 5.71 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season Friday against the Giants. Hutchison won his previous outing when he allowed two runs in five innings against the Angels.Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill (5-2, 3.12) pitches the opener of a four-game series in Minnesota on Thursday. Cahill has won four consecutive decisions, his longest winning streak since 2013. Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesNEW YORK 鈥?Look down at the dugout, if you must, and ask why Aaron Boone is still waiting to call on his stacked bullpen. Look up in the sky, if you wish, and ask why that Gary Sanchez fly ball in the ninth inning couldn't stretch far enough to become a game-winning grand slam.Or look to the starting rotations, because in three of the four games in a division series that felt close and one-sided at the same time, the Boston Red Sox held a decided advantage over the New York Yankees.Look where you will, but understand this: After 162 regular-season games and four more over the last five days, the Red Sox were simply the better team. They ended any debate with their series-clinching 4-3 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night, and they left the Yankees to ponder all that went wrong.That might sound cruel for a Yankees team that won 102 games, if you include their American League Wild Card Game win over the Oakland Athletics and their Game 2 win over the Red Sox. But a team that fell a win shy of going to the World Series a year ago and spent the last 12 months planning to go a step further instead ended up falling one round earlier."We're chasing greatness here," manager Aaron Boone said when it was over.If that's the standard Chris Tillman Jersey , it's not cruel to say the 2018 Yankees, with nearly $180 million in high-powered talent, failed. They were good, even very good at times. They weren't great.Greatness is reserved for the teams still playing, maybe even for the team that down the corridor was drenching Yankee Stadium's visiting clubhouse with champagne for the second time in three weeks."They outhit us and they outpitched us and they outplayed us," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said.Alex Cora had a great series, and Aaron Boone didnt, but the managers didnt decide the ALDS, the teams did.Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesBoone's in-game decisions didn't help. For a second straight night, he was too late to pull a faltering starting pitcher, as he left CC Sabathia in to give up three third-inning runs Tuesday. But it's a bit much to claim Boone cost the Yankees either game, given that they were already trailing by the time anyone would have wanted him to act.Maybe a quicker hook from Boone would have given the Yankees a better chance at a comeback, but as it turned out, the deciding run Tuesday scored on Christian Vazquez's fourth-inning home run off Zach Britton, one of those relievers everyone wanted Boone to call on.The Vazquez home run was a Yankee Stadium special, dropped into the front rows of the right field seats. Hit that at Fenway Park, and it's just another out.Then there was the Sanchez fly ball in the ninth, the one that came with the bases loaded and already one run across in an inning in which Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel struggled to find the plate. MLB.com's Statcast said Andrew Benintendi caught it 346 feet from home plate, which was maybe five or 10 feet too short."If that was on the road Eddie Murray Jersey , it's probably a home run," said Neil Walker, who watched it from first base. "If it was to right field, it was probably a home run. That ninth inning was a synopsis of our season, if you ask me."Fair enough, because it ended with the Yankees just a little bit short and the Red Sox dancing around in another celebration. It ended with the Yankees crediting their most bitter rivals for being just that much better and playing just that much better.It's true and also unfortunate Sabathia chose to use his postgame time to sound off on umpire Angel Hernandez, calling him "absolutely terrible," according to a tweet by Tim Healey of Newsday.Sabathia wasn't wrong, but his timing was bad. Hernandez didn't decide this series. The two teams did, and the better team won.CC Sabathia was one of the best pitchers in the game when he helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series. Nine years later, he was one of the reasons they were not good enough to win again.Elsa/Getty ImagesThe Red Sox won in part because the aging Sabathia is still part of the Yankees rotation, while the Sox have starters like Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello, who combined to pitch 19 innings in the series and allowed just four runs. Meanwhile, in the three games the Yankees lost, their starters pitched eight innings and allowed 14 runs.In the last two years, the Sox traded for Sale and Eovaldi, and the Houston Astros traded for Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, while the Yankees traded for Sonny Gray Kevin Gausman Jersey , J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn.Is it any wonder the Sox and Astros are meeting in the American League Championship Series while the Yankees are going home?Is it any wonder the team that signed J.D. Martinez (six RBI in the series) is still playing while the team that traded for Giancarlo Stanton (six strikeouts in the series, and zero extra-base hits or RBI) is going home?Boone spoke about "chasing the perfect offense," and this series made it all too clear the Yankees don't have that. They have plenty of power, and there's nothing wrong with that, but as they found out time after time in four games, the Red Sox simply have more ways to score."I think one of their goals in this series was to keep us in the ballpark," Boone said. "And then coming here where we're so good at [hitting home runs], they were able to do it."He's right. While Eovaldi dominated in Game 3 and Porcello and the bullpen took over in Game 4, the Yankees sent 68 batters to the plate and didn't hit a single ball out of the park.It was only the second time all year the Yankees were held without a home run in consecutive home games. The other time was in April against the Baltimore Orioles, who still managed to lose one of those games.The Red Sox, meanwhile, scored their first 14 runs in Game 3 without ever hitting the ball out of the park. They scored their first three runs Tuesday without a home run, too.The Sox moved on, and rightfully so. The Yankees entered another winter of chasing the perfect offense and chasing greatness, and now they can get ready for another season of chasing the Red Sox in the American League East.As this season and this series both proved, they have a ways to go to catch up. Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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