Rangers find way to beat Oakland, take series
JUN 20, 2013 5:09p ET
So did Nelson Cruz. And Tanner Scheppers. And Ian Kinsler. And in the end, it was the combination of Craig Gentry, Elvis Andrus and A.J. Pierzynski that had the final save for Texas as it completed a wacky 4-3 comeback win over Oakland.
Only a game like Thursday's could mean the Rangers end a 4-7 home stand feeling good about themselves. It doesn't hurt that three of the four victories came against Oakland and as bad as June has been, the Rangers are just one back in the American League West as they head on a six-game road trip to St. Louis and New York.
"It was a great game," said Andrus, whose throw home to Pierzynski cut down Josh Donaldson at the plate to end the game and preserve the win. "It means a lot. It means everybody is feeling better. We brought the energy back. We're carrying great momentum right now."
That momentum could have been lost several times Thursday.
Ross came on with the bases loaded and no outs with the Athletics leading 2-1 in the sixth and struck out two batters and got a pop up to keep the game that way. Scheppers (5-0) then rescued Ross in the seventh when things starting to go awry again.
Oakland had taken a 3-2 lead but Scheppers got a groundout and a strikeout to keep it that way after the Athletics had taken the lead on an Andrus throwing error.
Kinsler answered the call on offense, lining a full-count single off Sean Doolittle with two outs in the seventh inning to put the Rangers up 4-3. It was a tenuous lead though and one that was saved when Cruz made a leaping catch against the wall with no outs in the eighth and the tying run at first.
And then there was the perfect relay after a single with two outs in the ninth caromed off Gentry, setting the stage for the Gentry to Andrus to Pierzynski play to end the game, giving yet another save to Joe Nathan.
Not a bad way to wrap up a stand.
"There were a lot of changes that could have happened in that ballgame and I'm very happy that all the changes that did happen happened for us," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "The most important part of the series is we did what we had to do. We could have gotten buried if we didn't play well, but we played well."
The Rangers played well when they needed to Thursday. Josh Lindblom, who will be sent to Round Rock Friday to make room for Mitch Moreland, only lasted five innings which put a tired bullpen back to work.
The pitches were made when needed though as Oakland had 12 hits but was just 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. And two of the three runs Oakland did score came with Texas help as the Andrus error on a throw to third allowed one run to score. Oakland also took advantage of a lackadaisical throw by Jurickson Profar in the sixth inning to push across a run.
Texas didn't have many scoring chances, but took advantage of the few it did. The team scored its first run on a Geovany Soto homer in the fifth and the second on a wild pitch in the sixth.
That set the stage for Kinsler in the seventh. The inning started on an ominous tone for the Rangers as following a David Murphy double, a bad Robinson Chirinos bunt got Murphy cut down at third. But the Rangers followed that up with a single from Pierzynski and another from Leonys Martin to load the bases for Kinsler.
He delivered and then ran down the first-base line with his arms extended like former Dallas Mavericks star Jason Terry.
It was another memorable sight on a day filled with them.
"It was a tough game," Kinsler said. "Both managers made a lot of moves. And to be able to come out on top in a game like that, especially against these guys, is big."
+ SHOW COMMENTS +