Rapid Reaction: A's 3, Rangers 2 (10)
September, 25, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A home run by George Kottaras to lead off the 10th inning Tuesday was enough to give the Oakland A's a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers. The teams have split the first two games of the four-game series.
What it means: The loss keeps the Rangers' magic number at five and moves the A's back to four games behind the AL West leaders. It also keeps Oakland three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card race. The Rays beat the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Angels were two back going into their late game with the Seattle Mariners.
Lowe surrenders homer: Mark Lowe's 93-mph fastball on a 3-2 count was sent into the seats in the Home Run Porch (394 feet away) in right by No. 9 hitter Kottaras to start the 10th inning. It was the sixth homer of the season for Kottaras and the fifth homer allowed by Lowe in 39 2/3 innings this season. ... Lowe has now given up six runs on six hits in his past 1 1/3 innings (three appearances) as he could not get through the 10th inning.
Ogando bounces back: The fact that Alexi Ogando was able to bounce back from some rough outings could be key for the Rangers going forward. He came in with a 7.71 ERA in his past seven appearances and pitched two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit (a leadoff single to Stephen Drew in the eighth), but got three strikeouts in the eighth and ninth innings and kept the score tied. Ogando's slider was working as he got Yoenis Cespedes on the pitch in the eighth. And he fired a 99-mph fastball to get Brandon Moss looking for the second out of the eighth.
Spot start: Scott Feldman had to step in at the last minute for Yu Darvish, who was scratched with neck stiffness. It was Feldman's 21st start and he lasted four-plus innings (he faced one batter in the fifth), giving up two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. For a guy making a start no one expected, the Rangers will take it. He left with the game tied.
Strikeouts: Feldman has been piling up the strikeouts lately. He had five in three scoreless innings in Seattle on Friday and then carried that over to Tuesday with five in four innings. Feldman had his cutter and sinker working and utilized his curve as an out pitch on some of the strikeouts as well.
Early error equals runs: The Athletics' defense in this series has been dreadful at times, and that was apparent in the first inning. Right fielder Moss charged Josh Hamilton's single and the ball went right under his glove and rolled to the wall. That allowed Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who had both singled, to score for a 2-0 lead. Hamilton was held up at third and he did not get an RBI on the hit because of the error. ... But with Hamilton at third and no outs, the Rangers didn't score him. Adrian Beltre popped up to first in foul ground, Nelson Cruz hit a dribbler out in front of the plate and Michael Young struck out.
Limiting damage: Feldman managed to avoid a big second inning despite two walks and a run-scoring double. After Daric Barton's RBI hit to right put runners at second and third, Feldman got Josh Donaldson and Kottaras to ground out following a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux.
Baserunning issues: The Rangers tried to get the running game going but ran into outs instead. Andrus was caught stealing as A's starter Tommy Milone caught him going too soon in the sixth after a leadoff single. In the eighth, Hamilton was caught as he went on the first move by the pitcher Sean Doolitte.
Tying homer: Oakland's Chris Carter mashed a hanging curve over the left-field wall in the fourth for a solo shot that tied the score at 2. The A's now have 98 home runs since the All-Star break, which leads the major leagues.
Kirkman Ks 'em: Rangers reliever Michael Kirkman hadn't pitched since Sept. 14, meaning he had 10 days off. But he didn't look rusty, getting the Nos. 1-3 hitters after Feldman was taken out of a 2-2 game following a leadoff single by Kottaras in the fifth. Kirkman then had three strikeouts and a walk in the sixth. Four strikeouts in two innings for Kirkman allowed the Rangers to stay right in the game.
Uehara solid again: Rangers reliever Koji Uehara continued his roll. He came in for the seventh inning and retired all three batters he faced, including two via strikeouts. The splitter has become a real weapon for Uehara.
Tidbits: A total of 43,874 were at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. They are at more than 3.2 million this year. ... Geovany Soto did a nice job blocking a slider in the dirt from Ogando in the eighth to keep Coco Crisp at third base. Ogando got out of the inning by getting Josh Reddick to line out.
Up next: Martin Perez (1-2, 3.78 ERA) takes the mound for the Rangers against Jarrod Parker (11-8, 3.40 ERA) of the A's at 7:05 p.m. CT on ESPN 103.3 FM, ESPN and FSSW.