OAKLAND, Calif. — A night after the Texas Rangers were blown out for their fifth loss in six games, they responded with a 6-3 victory over the Oakland A’s on Tuesday night at the Coliseum. The Rangers led 5-0 and then withstood a couple late-inning threats.
Clutch relief: Derek Holland started to wobble relatively early, leaving the Rangers bullpen to record 11 outs. Alexi Ogando provided five critical outs. He entered with the two on and one out in the sixth and stranded both baserunners. In the seventh, he created his own mess by issuing a walk, allowing a hit and throwing a wild pitch. But around all that, he managed to strike out the side. The A’s had runners at second and third when Ogando whiffed Brandon Inge to end the inning. Mike Adams then worked a scoreless eighth and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth to record his 12th save.
Holland’s bounceback: After giving up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last start, Holland pitched a credible game, getting the Rangers into the sixth inning with the lead. However, he faded quickly. He had a 5-0 lead when he took the mound in the fifth, but seemed to lose velocity and managed only four more outs. He left with a 5-3 lead and two runners on base.
Early escape: It looked like this might be a very good night for Holland when he extricated himself from a jam in the third. The A’s had runners at the corners with two outs and Josh Reddick — Oakland’s most dangerous hitter — coming to the plate. Ron Washington visited the mound and Holland got Reddick on a tapper in front of the plate.
Arm from behind the plate: Catcher Yorvit Torrealba threw out Jonny Gomes trying to steal second in the eighth inning. Gomes had drawn a leadoff walk. He took off for second on a 2-2 pitch to Kila Ka'aihue. It’s likely that either Gomes saw a hit-and-run sign that wasn’t there or Ka’aihue missed one that was, because a straight steal made no sense down by two. In any case, the Rangers capitalized when Ka’aihue took the wide pitch and Torrealba made a perfect peg to second.
Balanced attack: All nine Rangers starters had at least one hit. Ian Kinsler’s two-run double put the Rangers on the board first in the third, with Josh Hamilton following with an RBI double. The Rangers added runs on Yorvit Torrealba’s sacrifice fly in the fourth, Michael Young’s triple in the fifth and Elvis Andrus’s single in the ninth.
Hamilton’s day: Other than his double, Hamilton had another rough day. He struck out twice and went 1-for-5. He is 3-for-21 so far on this trip.
Small ball: Although a team with a lineup as powerful as the Rangers wouldn’t seem to be the type to use small ball in the third inning, that’s exactly what Washington did. He had No. 9 hitter Craig Gentry bunt with runners at first and second and no outs. Gentry moved up the runners, who both scored on Kinsler’s double.
Cruz-ing to third: The Rangers caught a break in the fourth inning. Nelson Cruz tried to steal third with nobody out. He left too early and was going to be an easy out at third, except left-hander Travis Blackley balked while stepping off the rubber. It was a big play because Cruz then scored on a sacrifice fly.
More aggressive baserunning: On the sacrifice fly to right-center that scored Cruz, Mike Napoli tagged from first and went to second. He also would have been an easy out, but he was safe because Yoenis Cespedes' throw was wide. Instead, Napoli got himself into scoring position.