Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Athletics 4
April, 23, 2014
By Eric Gilmore | Special to ESPNDallas.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers rallied to score two runs in the top of the ninth inning and defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Tuesday night at the O.co Coliseum.
The Rangers beat the A's for the second straight time and will go for a series sweep Wednesday afternoon.
With the Rangers trailing 4-3 entering the top of the ninth, pinch hitter Mitch Moreland rocketed a leadoff double off Luke Gregerson to right center, then moved to third on Robinson Chirinos' sacrifice bunt.
Moreland tried to score after Leonys Martin bunted, despite no sign being given for a safety squeeze of any kind. Gregerson easily threw Moreland out at home. But Martin stole second, then scored on Josh Wilson's double off the left-field fence.
Outfielder Michael Choice singled sharply to center, driving in Wilson with the go-ahead run.
Joakim Soria came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five chances.
Kouzmanoff's early exit: Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, the reigning American League Player of the Week, left the game after the top of the fourth inning because of tightness in his back. Rookie Luis Sardinas entered the game at second base, and Wilson moved from second to third.
Figueroa injured: Rangers left-hander Pedro Figueroa left the game with an undisclosed injury after throwing only one pitch in the eighth. With a runner on first, Figueroa hit Josh Reddick in the side with a 90 mph fastball. Rangers trainers came out to examine Figueroa, and he left the field for the clubhouse.
Costly error: Wilson made a fielding error in the fourth on the first chance he had, leading to two unearned runs. After A's catcher John Jaso singled with one out, Reddick hit a routine double-play ground ball that got past Wilson. Jaso went to third, and Reddick hustled into second base. Eric Sogard hit a sacrifice fly, bringing Jaso home, and Coco Crisp followed with an RBI double.
Stressful night: Rookie Nick Martinez, who was called up from Double-A Frisco, gave up four runs, just two of them earned, and six hits over five innings. Martinez (0-1) walked three and struck out only one. He threw 92 pitches, only 50 for strikes. Martinez had only one stress-free inning, a one-two-three third. He had runners on base in every other inning. He gave up two doubles and a single in the first inning and was fortunate to allow only two runs.
Leading off: Choice started in left field in place of the injured Shin-Soo Choo (sprained left ankle) and took Choo's spot atop the order. Choice hit leadoff for the first time since his freshman season at the University of Texas-Arlington, but he looked like a natural. In the first inning, he worked a 3-2 count off Tommy Milone, then walked. He walked again with one out in the second inning, working another full count.
Early offense: For the second straight game against Oakland, the Rangers grabbed the first lead. On Monday night, Choo led off the game with a home run. This time the Rangers struck for two runs in the first inning, using two singles and three walks.
Up next: Rangers left-hander Martin Perez (3-0, 1.86 ERA) will face A's right-hander Sonny Gray (3-0, 1.80) in a battle between undefeated pitchers Wednesday afternoon in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. CT on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.