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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, A's 1

By Todd Wills



ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers jumped out with two home runs in the bottom of the first and made it stand for a 3-0 victory over the A's on Wednesday. The Rangers avoided a sweep against their division rivals and also their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Maintaining a comfortable lead: The Rangers pushed their lead back to 5 1/2 games in the American League West with Wednesday's win over second-place Oakland. The Rangers lost only their second home series of the season. They still haven't lost a road series. The Rangers have been in first place 32 straight days.

Murphy ignites first-inning rally: After Elvis Andrus' single to start the bottom of the first, David Murphy belted a 1-0 pitch into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead. After Lance Berkman's fly out to center, Adrian Beltre hit a solo shot to center field for his 10th home run of the season and a 3-0 lead.

Wolf comes up big: Ross Wolf gave the Rangers exactly what they needed and more. Not only did the journeyman right-hander keep the Rangers in the game, he left with a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning. He retired the first nine batters he faced, and when he did get himself into jams in the fourth and fifth innings, he minimized the damage. Wolf had runners at second and third twice in two innings, including with no outs in the fifth, and allowed only a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. Wolf allowed three hits and walked two in five innings.

Cotts on rampage: Left-handed reliever Neal Cotts hasn't slowed down since arriving from Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday. Cotts came into Wednesday's game in the sixth inning with runners at first and second and struck out the side, including left-handed batters Brandon Moss and Seth Smith. Cotts did allow a double to A's catcher Derek Norris to start the seventh inning, but he retired the next three batters, including left-handed hitter Eric Sogard. He has four strikeouts in two innings for the Rangers. Counting his Triple-A stats, Cotts has 46 strikeouts in 31 innings and left-handed batters are 0-for-33 against him.

Ross dominates: Robbie Ross delivered in the eighth inning with a perfect inning, lowering his ERA to 0.42, the lowest among all relievers in baseball.

Berkman scuffling: The A's slowed down a red-hot Berkman the last couple of days as he failed to get a hit in seven at-bats. Berkman still had a solid homestand with eight hits in 26 at-bats with five RBIs.

Up next: The Rangers have an off day Thursday as they travel to Seattle for a three-game series against the Mariners, then a day-night Memorial Day doubleheader at Arizona. Probables in the Seattle series are Rangers right-hander Justin Grimm (3-3, 4.02 ERA) against Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders (3-4, 5.64) on Friday at 9:10 p.m.; left-hander Derek Holland (3-2, 3.30) vs. right-hander Felix Hernandez (5-3, 2.07); and right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-4, 3.98) against right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1, 2.37).