OAKLAND -- The A's read the book on Matt Garza.
Matt Garza read the riot act to the A's.
The scouting report on Garza was that he's not comfortable fielding bunts, so the A's dropped down three successful bunts in a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Saturday. By the time of the third one, a safety squeeze by Eric Sogard that produced the A's final run in the seventh inning, Garza let fly with a few well-chosen expletives at Sogard in particular and the A's in general.
The incident took a bizarre twist later when several angry tweets toward Sogard and his wife, Kaycee, originated from a locked Twitter account that appears to be Garza's, @Gdueceswild. The messages included: "tell your husband to speak up so his wife doesn't have to do it for him."
The tirade appeared to be in response to Kaycee's tweet (@KayceeSogard) on the incident that included: " ... I find it funny ;) Eric is probably the last person to respond to getting called names."
As word of the exchange quickly spread, Garza apparently wrote: "I appreciate the love baseball fans,sorry I let my competitive edge out,guess people thought athletes don't care.Don't like me don't follow."
Immediately after the game, Eric Sogard, ever the diplomat, said of Garza's in-game exchange, "I couldn't really make it out. But he yelled at me, sure. We scored a run, and anytime that happens, he's not going to be happy.
"It was in the scouting report that he had trouble defending that play. So we knew going in this was something we might be able to do.''
A's first base coach Tye Waller, who was in excellent position to hear the exchange, also wasn't specific. But he did talk about the impact of a bunt by Sogard in the first inning that set up Oakland's first run and two bunts in the seventh, a sacrifice by Stephen Vogt in addition to Sogard's squeeze.
"You could tell it was frustrating to him," Waller said. "But it's baseball. We're playing to score runs. I'm sure he saw that before when he was with Tampa (2008-10). Now it worked against him this time. When guys compete, stuff is going to happen."
For his part, Garza was succinct about his exchange with Sogard.
"I asked him where was a good place to eat in Oakland," Garza said, knowing full well that the Rangers stay in San Francisco when playing in Oakland.
After the game, Garza did address the issue of the flurry of bunts that the A's put down. Oakland came into the game ranked 14th in the 15-team American League in successful bunts and had just two sacrifice bunts in a game just once -- and that was in April.
"They showed me how they're going to play, how they're going to attack me," Garza said. "That's fine. Next time, I'll be ready." In pushing their lead to 3½ games in the American League West over the Rangers, the A's struck big early and struck small late. A three-run first inning was helped along by Sogard's bunt, but Jed Lowrie stung an RBI single for the first run. And Yoenis Cespedes' two-run homer gave A's starter Jarrod Parker a 3-0 lead early.
Two walks by Parker set up the Rangers for a run in the in the third inning and Ian Kinsler hit a barely fair homer to deep left to cut Texas' deficit to 3-2 in the fifth. And in the mind of A's manager Bob Melvin, that lead had to be precarious.
Alberto Callaspo walked against Garza, Vogt bunted him to second, Coco Crisp moved Callaspo to third with a single and Sogard laid down the safety squeeze.
"We're trying to get them out of their rhythm there," Melvin said. "To go from 3-2 to 4-2 right there feels like more."
Watching all that bunting was no problem for Parker, who threw six innings and saw his record against the Rangers improve to 5-1, his best against any one team.
"I love it," he said of the bunts. "Any time we can score, it's great, whether we hit the ball out or manufacture a run. We just find ways to do it."
It was far from Parker's best day, although his numbers (six innings, six hits, two runs) suggested the Rangers didn't have his number.
He said he felt good but had trouble finding the proper place for his landing (left) foot on the mound.
"In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings I was bouncing around out there, trying to find a comfortable spot," he said.
At least he didn't have to field any bunts.
Texas (Derek Holland 8-6)
at A's (A.J. Griffin 10-7), 1:05 p.m. CSNCA