ARLINGTON, Texas -- A bad combination for the Texas Rangers at the worst time.
"We're not scoring runs and we're giving up runs," manager Ron Washington said. "It is an awful time for it to happen."The Texas Rangers' largest deficit from a playoff spot grew even larger Tuesday night after a 6-1 loss to the last-place Oakland Athletics.David Murphy's leadoff homer in the fourth snapped the Rangers' 22-inning scoreless streak, which included consecutive shutout losses in the same homestand for only the second time in 16 seasons at Rangers Ballpark. But they were down 4-1 and didn't score again while losing for the fourth time in five games -- all at home."We haven't showed much of anything the last few games," Murphy said. "You can give up and throw in the towel or keep fighting and show the character that we've showed all year."With 18 games left, the Rangers are 5½ games behind AL wild-card leader Boston and trail the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels by six games.The Red Sox beat the Angels 4-1 on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. The Angels play in Texas this weekend.Rajai Davis scored the first run then matched a career best with four RBIs for the A's, who have won seven of nine games."You have to believe you're going to produce every game and help the team win," said Davis, who is 23 of 56 (.411) with 12 runs and seven stolen bases in 13 games this month. "I need to keep doing exactly what I've been doing, and even more. Once you find something that works, you want to stick with it."Davis, who finished with three hits, put the A's ahead to stay when he reached on a fielder's choice in the first, stole his 37th base and went to third on catcher Ivan Rodriguez's throwing error before scoring on Ryan Sweeney's groundout. Davis drew a bases-loaded walk off Brandon McCarthy (7-3) the following inning.Craig Breslow (7-7), the second of six Oakland pitchers, worked two scoreless innings after starter Edgar Gonzalez allowed the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters to reach base starting the fifth.Michael Young returned to the Texas lineup as the designated hitter after missing two weeks because of a strained left hamstring, but left after he flied out his only at-bat. The All-Star third baseman fouled off three of his eight pitches, then pulled himself out of the game."I felt great in batting practice, ran around great, and then the second pitch he threw me, I got off balance, landed on my front side a little too hard and it just grabbed," Young said. "I didn't want to make it worse. I've been making too much progress."Young said it was unlikely he would play Wednesday, but could return this weekend against the Angels, the series he had targeted for his return since he got hurt running out a grounder Sept. 1.Davis added a two-run single in the fourth and a run-scoring single in the sixth. Davis was caught stealing after a leadoff single in the eighth.McCarthy, who had won his two previous starts after nearly three months on the disabled list (stress fracture in right shoulder blade), gave up four runs while pitching into the fourth.Rangers hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz struck out the last three batters with the bases loaded in the sixth, after giving up two runs on a leadoff triple, two walks (one with the bases loaded), a hit batsman and Davis' single. Feliz had allowed only two runs over 23 2/3 innings his first 13 major league appearances.
Oakland's Jack Cust struck out four times, taking over the AL lead with 166. Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena had 163 strikeouts before season-ending surgery for two broken fingers last week. ... Elvis Andrus went 0 for 2 with two walks, ending his Rangers' rookie record 16-game hitting streak. ... Texas went 25 consecutive innings without a run in September 2004, when they were last in playoff contention. The team record of 28 was set in 1972. ... Boston's victory officially eliminated Oakland from postseason contention. It came in the 144th game, one later than last season, which was the earliest elimination for the A's since 1997. ... The Rangers had three errors.