Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Oakland 7

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
4:09
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers took an early lead and held on as the A's tried to rally, winning 9-7 in front of 43,796 on Thursday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Some quick thoughts:

What it means: The Rangers reduce the magic number to three and are four games up on the A's in the AL West, which is what the standings looked like when Oakland arrived Monday. ... It also means they'll stay at least one game in front of the New York Yankees for best record in the American League.

Leadoff homer: Ian Kinsler started the bottom of the first with a home run, pounding a 90-mph fastball over the left-field wall to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It was Kinsler's seventh leadoff homer of the season, the most in the majors. The home run tied Kinsler's club-record of seven leadoff long balls in a season (he did it in 2009 and 2011 as well). ... The homer made up for Kinsler's mistake in the field in the first; he made a high throw to first on a double play attempt. It was a throw he normally makes with no problem.

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Five-run first: Michael Young had a clutch at-bat, a two-out single to score Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz to put the Rangers up 3-0. ... Mike Napoli followed with a two-run homer to right-center. It was his 21st home run and ended an 0-for-11 skid with six strikeouts on this homestand. He does have four home runs in 10 starts since being activated from the DL.

Hits with RISP: For the past six games, the Rangers were struggling with runners in scoring position (they were 3-for-20 in the first three games of the Oakland series and on a 1-for-25 streak coming into the series). But they came through when it counted Thursday. They had two at-bats with runners in scoring position in the first and got a single and a home run to drive in four runs. Texas was 3-for-3 with RISP through the first two innings.

Two-out runs: The Rangers had five of them, including four in the first inning. Josh Hamilton added another two-out RBI when he doubled home Elvis Andrus in the the second. It was his 125th RBI of the season.

PODCAST
Rangers pitcher Ryan Dempster quells fans from panicking after back-to-back losses to the rival A's, the mindset of the team heading into the postseason, how he's fit into the clubhouse since the trade and more.

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Harrison's outing: He wasn't dominant, but Matt Harrison did what he needed to do in earning his 18th win of the season. It wasn't a quality start, as he gave up four earned runs in six innings with seven hits. He had just two strikeouts, his fewest since getting just two against the Yankees on Aug. 14. But Harrison pitched deep into the game, something that was needed for the Rangers' bullpen, and he pitched aggressively with an early lead.

Adams' odd line: Mike Adams gave up three home runs in two-third of an inning, surrendering solo shots to Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick in the eighth. He mixed in two strikeouts as well. Adams hadn't allowed a home run since May 1, when Toronto's Brett Lawrie hit one. It pulled the A's within two runs.

Koji Ks e'm: With no one on and two outs, manager Ron Washington went to Koji Uehara. The A's pinch-hit left-handed catcher George Kottaras, who struck out on a splitter. Uehara has now held left-handed hitters to a .197 batting average with 18 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.

Up next: The Los Angeles Angels come to town for a three-game set. Ryan Dempster will go up against Jered Weaver. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Elvis Andrus
BA HR RBI R
.302 1 3 9
OTHER LEADERS
HRE. Andrus 1
RBIA. Rios 7
RE. Andrus 9
OPSS. Choo .830
WP. Figueroa 2
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23