ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- For catcher Jason Kendall, it was just
an instinct play. And it saved the game for the surging Oakland
With the potential tying run charging home and the wild pitch
bouncing away from him, Kendall scrambled to get the ball. He made
a barehanded grab and then dived headfirst back toward the plate,
getting there just in time for Michael Young to slide into his mitt
for the game-ending out in an 11-10 victory over the Texas Rangers
on Friday night."It's just instinct. I didn't know how far it was. When I
grabbed it, I knew it would be a bang-bang play," Kendall said.
"I happened to grab it cleanly. If I don't, he's safe and it's a
tie game."The Rangers had already scored twice in the ninth when Justin
Duchscherer's 1-2 pitch to Alfonso Soriano bounced in the dirt,
ricocheting high off Kendall's shoulder and away from the runner.
Young immediately took off from third, but never got to the plate
because Kendall was laid out with his arms fully extended over it."It was the right play: two strikes, two outs. I had a big lead
and a good jump," Young said. "It was going to take a good bounce
and a perfect play by Kendall, and they got both."Nick Swisher drove in four runs with a homer and a double and
Danny Haren won his AL-best seventh straight decision for Oakland,
which won for the 24th time in 30 games.The Athletics had an 11-6 lead after Kendall had an RBI triple
and then scored on Mark Kotsay's single in the eighth. They needed
his defensive gem to hold on."He put his face in the middle of the play and got the out,"
first baseman Dan Johnson said.The first three Rangers reached in the ninth. After Young's RBI
single made it 11-9, Mark Teixeira struck out and Hank Blalock had
an RBI groundout. Duchscherer then tried to throw a cutter to
Soriano."That's not the way you want to save a game," said
Duchscherer, who got the last four outs for his fifth save.The A's overcame a 3-0 deficit for the second straight night in
Texas. Oakland (50-45) has won five of six between the teams since
the All-Star break, taking a 2½-game lead over the Rangers for
second place in the AL West.It was the Rangers' second 11-10 loss in five days. They lost by
the same score to the New York Yankees on Monday night and are 2-7
since the All-Star break."I'm frustrated for them. They put so much into winning that
game," manager Buck Showalter said. "I applaud Mike. It's a good
risk."Teixeira hit a two-run homer, his 26th, and had a sacrifice fly
for Texas. Richard Hidalgo was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the
eighth.Haren (8-7) allowed three runs through the first five batters.
He then got a double play, the first of three in four innings, and
faced the minimum 13 batters until David Dellucci singled to start
the Rangers' three-run sixth.With seven wins over 11 starts, Haren has the longest active
winning streak among AL pitchers. He allowed six runs and six hits
over 5 1-3 innings.Bobby Kielty's go-ahead hit off Chris Young (8-6) in the third
extended his hitting streak to 14 games and put the A's ahead to
stay at 5-3. It came right after Eric Chavez snapped an 0-for-15
slump with a popup that fell in shallow left between two
outfielders for an RBI single.Swisher's 13th homer was a two-run shot in the second, and he
added a two-run double in the three-run fifth that made it 8-3.
Swisher drove in three runs and scored another in Oakland's
series-opening 6-4 victory.Haren hadn't gotten a decision in his three previous starts in
July, all extra-inning victories for Oakland. Texas then got three
first-inning runs with just one hit, a two-run double by Soriano.
There were also two walks, an error and Teixeira's sacrifice fly.Haren pitched to just one more batter after Teixeira's first
homer in nine games, with no outs in the sixth after Young's RBI
double.Chris Young gave up six runs and seven hits, throwing 101
pitches while going just one batter into the fifth. He has allowed
29 earned runs over 33 1-3 innings his last seven starts,
increasing his ERA from 2.78 to 4.30.Kevin Gryboski, acquired in a trade from Atlanta on Thursday,
made his first Texas appearance in the eighth and gave up RBI hits
to the first three batters he faced: singles by Mark Ellis and
Bobby Crosby, and Kendall's triple.
Teixeira is 6-for-35 since being the AL's starting first
baseman in the All-Star game. ... Oakland has won 13 of 18 road
games since an 11-game losing streak away from home. ... Haren
walked two, but has just 12 walks over his last 12 starts.