Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, A's 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers came back from a two-run deficit after six innings and beat the A's in walk-off style, winning 5-4 on Adrian Beltre's single. Beltre did it all Monday, tying the game with a homer and then winning it. Here are some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers go up five games in the AL West and reduce the magic number to five, as well. ... The A's loss also means the Los Angeles Angels close to two games in the wild-card race (they didn't play Monday). The Angels play Seattle for three games starting Tuesday night before coming to Arlington on Friday.
Walk-off win: Texas got the victory in the ninth as Adrian Beltre singled home Mitch Moreland for his 19th game-winning RBI of the season. ... Moreland and Ian Kinsler had consecutive singles and were bunted over by Elvis Andrus (his 16th sac bunt of the season). The A's then intentionally walked Josh Hamilton and pitched to Beltre, who got the hit up the middle.
Amazin' Adrian: Beltre keeps showing why he's this club's MVP this season (if you ask me). With the score 4-2 A's in the seventh with two outs and a man on base, Beltre blasted a 1-2 pitch from Pat Neshek. It was Beltre's 35th home run of the season. Besides the fact that it was yet another clutch hit at a big time for Beltre recently (see the home run vs. the Angels on Thursday), it came off the right-handed Neshek, who had allowed just four hits in 46 at-bats against right-handed batters before that Beltre hit. It was the first home run Neshek allowed to a right-handed batter.
Hamilton's homer, walk: Hamilton, returning to the lineup for the first time in nearly a week, said he could see just fine and showed it in the fifth, as he belted a 441-foot home run into the home run porch in right field. It was his 43rd home run, putting him one ahead of Miguel Cabrera, who is vying to win the Triple Crown. ... But just as important was Hamilton's walk in the seventh that made Beltre's homer a two-run shot. Hamilton was down 1-2 in the count before showing some patience and working that walk.
Holland struggles mightily: Derek Holland didn't have any command Monday. Consequently, he was out after just three innings. He needed 77 pitches in those innings and gave up four hits -- two of them homers -- and had two walks. It was his shortest start since May 30 versus Seattle, when he allowed eight runs on eight hits in just 1 2/3 innings in a 21-8 loss in Arlington.
Homers: Holland gave up two long homers to left-center field, one to Josh Donaldson (with a man on) in the second and a solo shot to Yeonis Cespedes in the third. ... He has now allowed 30 homers this season; that's sixth-most in the AL.
Behind in count: Holland faced 15 batters. He had a 3-ball count on eight of those batters.
RISP streak ends: The Rangers ended their 0-for-24 streak with runners in scoring position in the second inning when Moreland hit a bloop to left-center to score Michael Young from third. ... The Rangers ended up loading the bases after that single with two outs, but Andrus struck out to end the inning.
Unearned run: Oakland helped the Rangers score in that second inning. Third baseman Josh Donaldson made an off-balance throw on a soft bouncer and first baseman Chris Carter dropped it. The error was charged to Donaldson. Young alertly went from second to third as soon as the ball got away from Carter and scored on Moreland's hit.
Pennington produces: Perhaps the best at-bat of the night belonged to Cliff Pennington off Robbie Ross in the sixth. Down 0-2, Pennington worked the count back to 2-2 and then hit a single to left field. Pennington was batting .167 with five RBIs in 102 at-bats before the RBI single.
Straily solid: Dan Straily gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits in 6 2/3 innings on Monday. He had eight strikeouts, tying a career high, and pitched well once runners got in scoring position. But once Beltre homered to tie it in the seventh (two batters after Straily left), Straily got a no-decision.
Big double play: The Rangers got a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play in the top of the ninth to end the inning. It came after closer Joe Nathan walked Stephen Drew and then struck out Seth Smith to start the double play.
Up next: RHP Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA) takes on LHP Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.86 ERA) in the second game of this four-game series. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.