After a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the series opener, the first-place Texas Rangers look to increase their lead over the Oakland Athletics in the AL West when the teams continue a four-game set on Friday.
Oakland (22-25) took a 7-0 lead into the sixth on Thursday before Texas (24-23) scored five times in the bottom of the inning and once each in the seventh and eighth to tie the game.
The Rangers then won 8-7 when Phil Nevin snapped an 0-for-17 slump with a two-out homer in the ninth, sending the A’s to their season-high sixth straight loss.
“It’s awesome,” Texas’ designated hitter said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that emotional on a baseball field. … It’s a great feeling. You round third and the whole team is waiting for you.
“To get into one like that was a heck of a moment. You just handle things and keep working hard. I want to be part of this group and win here.”
After missing six weeks with a dislocated left thumb, rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler went 3-for-4 with two homers Thursday for Texas. His second home run tied the game at 7 in the eighth.
“To have a game like this is outstanding, not just personally, but to pull it out as a team,” said Kinsler, who was activated prior to the game. “I hope people don’t expect this out of me every night.”
In nine games this season, Kinsler is hitting .520 (13-for-25) with three homers and two doubles.
Oakland, which blew a seven-run lead for only the third time in franchise history, trails Texas by two games in the division.
“You can never score enough runs in this ballpark. In this ballpark, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Nick Swisher, who went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer for the A’s. “It’s a tough loss. Luck isn’t on our side.”
Oakland hasn’t lost seven in a row since dropping eight straight last May 21-29.
The A’s will send Joe Blanton (4-5, 6.24 ERA) to the mound Friday to help them end their skid. The right-hander lost for the third time in his last four starts Sunday, allowing five runs and six hits over four innings of a 6-0 defeat to San Francisco.
Blanton beat the Rangers 3-2 in Texas on April 24, when he gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings. He is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six appearances against the Rangers.
Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira went 2-for-4 and snapped his 17-game homerless drought with his fifth of the season on Thursday. Teixeira, who had a career-high 43 home runs last season, is just 2-for-15 (.133) with a homer against Blanton.
The Rangers will counter with rookie John Koronka (4-2, 4.25), who suffered his first loss since April 7 in his last start. The left-hander gave up three runs in six innings in a 5-0 defeat at Houston on Sunday.
The A’s have split their first four games in Texas this season after going 7-2 there in 2005. Oakland has not lost consecutive games at Ameriquest Field since dropping three straight from Sept. 21-23, 2004.