Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Athletics 5
By Eric Gilmore
Special to ESPNDallas.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers had to work 10 innings, but they beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 and evened their series at one win apiece entering the finale on Wednesday afternoon at the O.co Coliseum.
Tenth-inning heroics: With one out in the top of the 10th, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre crushed a solo home run to left center off A's reliever Chris Resop to put the Rangers ahead 5-4. Then, with two outs, first baseman Mitch Moreland launched his second home run of the night, a solo shot to center off Resop. Beltre and Moreland both have nine home runs, sharing the team lead with Nelson Cruz. The Rangers had lost five straight games at the Coliseum before Beltre and Moreland powered them past the A's.
Rangers strike first: For the second straight game, the Rangers struck first, this time grabbing a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. Shortstop Elvis Andrus led off with an infield single, the Rangers' first hit off Bartolo Colon. With one out, Beltre blooped a double to right, moving Andrus to third. Cruz drove in Andrus with a sacrifice fly to right, and Moreland followed with his two-run blast. The Rangers scored another run in the eighth when Andrus hit another leadoff single, moved to third on Beltre's one-out single and scored on another Cruz sacrifice fly.
Home-run binge: Another day, another impressive home run for Moreland. In the fourth inning, he sent a moon shot high over the right-center wall for a two-run blast off Bartolo Colon for his eighth homer of the season. Colon's 3-1 pitch was belt-high and down the middle, and Moreland didn't miss. Moreland has homered in back-to-back games and six times in his past nine games. He extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. He had his fifth career two-homer game.
Good start turns bad: Rangers left-hander Derek Holland cruised through the first four innings, blanking the A's on three hits while striking out four. But he ran into trouble in the fifth and sixth and wound up with a no-decision. In his previous start against the Milwaukee Brewers, he allowed 10 hits but just one run over seven innings in a victory. This time, he allowed eight hits and four runs in just 5⅔ innings, striking out five and walking one. A's left fielder Seth Smith lined a leadoff single to right in the fifth, Nate Freiman singled to center and Holland walked No. 9 hitter Michael Taylor, loading the bases. Holland got Adam Rosales to hit into a double play as Smith scored. Then shortstop Jed Lowrie roped an RBI double to left. Josh Donaldson led off the sixth with a double -- his third straight hit off Holland -- moved to third on a groundout and scored on Luke Montz's sacrifice fly. When Holland gave up a single to Smith, reliever Robbie Ross replaced him. But Freiman greeted him with an RBI double to give the A's a 4-3 lead.
Battle of the bullpens: After Holland exited, Ross, Jason Frasor and Tanner Scheppers combined to allow just two hits and no runs over the next 3⅓ innings. Scheppers pitched two perfect innings, mixing heat that reached as high as 98 mph with effective off-speed pitches. He earned the win. Closer Joe Nathan retired the first batter he faced in the 10th but walked Derek Norris and John Jaso and gave up an RBI double to Smith before striking out Daric Barton and retiring Eric Sogard on a ground ball.
Up next: The Rangers face the A's in the finale of their three-game series Wednesday at 2:35 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. Right-hander Alexi Ogando will face A's right-hander Dan Straily in the final game of the Rangers' nine-game road trip.