Rapid Reaction: Athletics 5, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Tepesch was moving along Saturday, following up on some strong performances from the Texas Rangers' starting rotation.

But a pair of two-out home runs in the sixth inning shook him, and he eventually left in the seventh with soreness in his left knee in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

Tepesch (3-7) had a solid night before departing, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings of work. He struck out two on 73 pitches.

The Rangers didn’t provide much help with their offense, getting just one run against A’s starter Sonny Gray, who extended his personal win streak to six games.

After stunning the Athletics, owners of the best record in baseball, with a victory Friday night, things got back to normal Saturday. The Rangers, with the worst record in baseball at 41-63, are now 4-18 in July, the fewest wins for any team in the big leagues this month.

The last time the Rangers lost 18 games in a month was August 2008, when they were 11-18.

What happened in the sixth? Tepesch, whose start was moved back a day after an emergency relief appearance Tuesday in New York, held the Athletics in check for most of the night. He allowed just two baserunners: Brandon Moss, who led off the second with a single, and Stephen Vogt, who reached on an error in the fifth. It fell apart in the sixth with two outs and a man on. Tepesch allowed a two-run homer to John Jaso, who smashed a belt-high changeup to right. Yoenis Cespedes followed that with a solo shot to right on a fastball down the middle to push the lead to 3-1.

The Rangers tried to respond in their half of the inning, which Elvis Andrus started with a walk. Gray struck out the next two batters, Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre, on curveballs out of the zone. Jim Adduci walked to extend the inning, but it ended when J.P. Arencibia struck out on a half-swing on another curveball out of the zone.

Could Jerome get a start? With Tepesch leaving in the seventh inning, Jerome Williams might get the call to replace him in the rotation if the knee injury is serious. Before the game, Rangers manager Ron Washington said Williams deserved to get another start based on his efforts Friday night. Williams held the A’s to one run with five hits allowed in six innings of work. The Rangers are sticking with their young pitchers in the long term, and a veteran such as Williams is just hanging around as long as he pitches well. Tepesch would get at least five days of recovery before his next scheduled start, tentatively Aug. 1 at Cleveland.

Elvis’ night: Andrus broke an 0-for-12 slide in New York on Thursday afternoon with a single. Friday night he picked up two hits, including his first triple of the season. Saturday, Andrus reached base in three of four plate appearances. He was stranded in the first and sixth innings and picked off in the third. With a chance to make an impact in the seventh with two on and two outs, Andrus hit a chopper to shortstop Nick Punto, who made a nice play on the run to get the out.

Adcock’s debut: Reliever Nate Adcock's debut was shaky. He became the 32nd Rangers pitcher to appear in a game -- a club record, and most in the majors this season. Adcock was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday and relieved Tepesch.

The first batter he faced was Josh Donaldson, who homered on a 2-2 pitch to center for a 4-1 Athletics lead. After a strikeout, Adcock gave up a solo shot to Josh Reddick to push the lead to 5-1. Adcock settled down to retire the next five hitters, with strikeouts of Jaso and Cespedes to end the eighth inning.

What’s next? Right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.48 ERA) faces Oakland lefty Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32) on Sunday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.