ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez reversed Oakland's offensive struggles with two swings of the bat.
Swisher and Chavez hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth and Joe Blanton pitched six solid innings to lift the Oakland Athletics past the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Monday night.The A's came into the game last in the American League in hitting with a .221 average and next to last in runs scored.It looked like more of the same for Oakland as the A's had just three hits and left 10 men on base in the first five innings. But Oakland's offensive fortunes changed in the sixth inning."It was going to turn around for us at some point," Swisher said. "We're scrapping and not laying down for anybody."Swisher homered for the third straight game -- a two-run shot off Texas reliever C.J. Wilson (1-1). It was Swisher's ninth homer of the season and gave Oakland a 2-1 lead. Chavez hit his eighth two pitches later off Wilson.Kevin Mench, who was 3-for-4, hit his fourth home run and added an RBI single for Texas, who saw its four-game winning streak end. He has homered in four consecutive games.Oakland, which left 12 base runners stranded, had lost nine of 12."We're fighting for wins right now," Swisher said. "We have too much talent on this team not to be winning ballgames."Blanton (2-2) allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked one.After the Rangers closed within 3-2 on Mench's run-scoring single, Brad Wilkerson singled to move Mench to third with one out in the sixth.But Blanton, who had given up 14 runs over his last two starts, escaped trouble when Rod Barajas bounced into an inning-ending double play."I was just trying to get a pitch on the outer half, somewhat down," Blanton said. "I was hoping to get a strikeout or even better, a double play."Justin Duchscherer pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save in two chances.Oakland closer Huston Street (strained right pectoral muscle) hasn't pitched since April 18 and isn't expected back before
Wednesday.Texas starter Kevin Millwood pitched five shutout innings, but he struggled with his control. He walked six batters and got out of bases-loaded trouble in the third and fourth.He allowed four hits and struck out four.Millwood didn't pull any punches when assessing his outing."I didn't give up any runs, but to pitch only five innings is unacceptable," Millwood said. "Six walks are terrible. I put my bullpen in a bad spot."Wilson relieved Millwood and retired the first two batters in the sixth before walking Mark Kotsay. That set up the heroics from Swisher and Chavez, who have combined to hit 17 of Oakland's 27
home runs."For 8 2/3 innings, we pitched pretty well," Wilson said. "I just happened to be on the wrong end of the home run balls tonight."Mench's solo shot in the second -- his fourth of the season -- gave Texas a 1-0 lead. He has 13 RBI over the past five games.
Chavez set the A's all-time franchise record with his 192nd homer as a third baseman. He had shared the mark with Sal Bando. ... Mench is one shy of tying the club record for consecutive games with a home run. Carl Everett (April 14-20, 2003), Alex Rodriguez (Aug. 17-21, 2003) and Mark Teixeira (July 11-19, 2004) hold the mark with five. ... Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby (strained right triceps) did not play for the third straight game.