By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Rangers rally past A's for 5-game AL West lead
Placeholder Image

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The young Oakland Athletics have seen too many of these endings lately during their playoff chase.

Adrian Beltre singled home the winning run in the ninth inning Monday night, after tying the game two innings earlier with his 35th homer, and the Texas Rangers rallied past Oakland 5-4 to stretch their AL West lead over the Athletics to five games with nine to play.

"It's one game. We have to bounce back. We did that in both Detroit and New York. We lost some tough ones and bounced back," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It would have been nice to start off with a win in the series, but you have to move on from it."

Oakland managed to rebound from a 14-inning loss to the Yankees on Saturday, when the A's blew a four-run lead in the 13th and lost on a two-out error, with a 5-4 win in the series finale at New York.

The A's then opened a big four-game series against Texas by building leads of 2-0 and 4-2. They wound up losing their third one-run game in four days.

"There have been a lot of one-run ballgames and things haven't gone our way," starter Dan Straily said.

Straily, one of 14 A's rookies, struck out eight and left with a 4-2 lead after 6 2-3 innings with Josh Hamilton due to bat and the bases empty.

Jerry Blevins walked Hamilton, the only batter he faced, before Pat Neshek gave up the two-run drive to Beltre.

It was Neshek who allowed Raul Ibanez's tying, two-run homer to cap that four-run 13th inning by the Yankees.

Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes homered for Oakland, which has a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card.

Cliff Pennington had an RBI single in the sixth.

"We control our own destiny. We're going to approach the game the same way every single day," Straily said. "It's not backs against the wall. Everyone stays easy and relaxed and ready to go every single day."

It was the first of seven meetings in the last 10 days of the regular season between the two-time defending AL champion Rangers and the A's, who have lost six of eight after winning 17 of 21.

Even though he's been hurting, Beltre keeps producing for Texas.

He slowed down as he rounded first base, folded his arms and bent over to protect himself from the oncoming rush of teammates after his sharp single through the middle sent home pinch-runner Craig Gentry in the ninth.

"This guy doesn't think about anything but doing what he has to do for his team, and he certainly came up big for us," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Come up in that situation with the bases loaded and not try to do anything but make hard contact, and he did. Just can't say enough about Adrian Beltre."

Surgery might be the only way for Beltre to ease the pain in his stomach that doctors believe is caused by scar tissue from an appendix operation more than a decade ago. Beltre said that won't even be an option until after the season, and insists he's not playing hurt any more than anybody else right now.

The Rangers got the ninth started with consecutive singles by Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler before Elvis Andrus' sacrifice bunt. Hamilton, who had already hit his major league-best 43rd homer after missing the previous five games with a cornea issue, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Fans started chanting "M-V-P!, M-V-P!" as Beltre stepped to the plate against Tyson Ross (2-11).

"Every game for us is big," Beltre said. "Especially facing the team right behind us."

Joe Nathan (3-4), the sixth Rangers pitcher, struck out two in the ninth. That included a strikeout of Seth Smith as Stephen Drew was caught stealing to end the inning.

Hamilton hit a 441-foot solo homer in the fifth that landed in the second deck of seats high above the Rangers' bullpen in right-center to get Texas within 3-2.

Donaldson lined a two-run shot deep into the left-field seats in the second off Derek Holland. Cespedes hit a two-out solo homer, his 21st, for a 3-1 lead an inning later.

The Rangers got an unearned run in the second when Michael Young was hit by a pitch before Donaldson's error at third base. Young scored on Moreland's bloop single that ended a string of 24 consecutive at-bats by the Rangers with runners in scoring position without a hit.

NOTES: Beltre and Nelson Cruz had consecutive doubles in the fifth that failed to produce a run. Beltre was picked off second after wandering too far off the base on a pitch in the dirt that catcher Derek Norris quickly recovered. ... CF Coco Crisp was out of the A's starting lineup for the sixth game in a row because of an infection in both eyes. Melvin said Crisp has seen three doctors but his condition hasn't improved much.