Athletics 9, Rangers 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Earlier this week, Miguel Tejada proclaimed that sometime soon he would get six hits in a row.
He came close.
Tejada homered and set a career-high with five hits and Eric Byrnes and Eric Chavez each had three-run homers as the Oakland Athletics completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, 9-2 on Thursday.
Tejada has been working with a pitching machine that throws sliders, under the direction of new hitting coach Dave Hudgens, before every night game during the Athletics’ current 12-game homestand.
He was hitting 4-for-35 (.114) during this home stretch before Thursday.
“I really know I can hit,” said Tejada, who batted .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBIs during his 2002 AL MVP season.
“I’ve been working on my hitting and there are a lot of games left. It doesn’t matter what happens in the past,” he said. “I’m seeing the ball better. It’s all about confidence.”
Ellis arrived ahead of the throw and Rodriguez dropped his glove as if to make the tag, but the ball hadn’t arrived yet. The throw struck the shortstop in the nose. Rodriguez was tended to on the field by trainer Jamie Reed, then left the game.
“It hit me pretty square into the right nostril,” a groggy Rodriguez said after the game. “It was really blurry. I remember Jamie asking me a few questions. I was in a daze.”
Rodriguez told manager Buck Showalter he was OK.
“There’s a little swelling and you can see the stitches (from the ball),” Showalter said. “It was bleeding pretty good. He’s pretty woozy. I don’t know what his recollection of it will be.”
Mark Mulder (10-4) pitched seven strong innings as the A’s won their sixth straight game, matching their best streak of the season. He gave up 10 hits and two runs, striking out three with no walks. Manager Ken Macha hopes Mulder will be an All-Star selection.
“I’m not even worrying about it,” Mulder said. “I didn’t walk anybody. I’m proud of that. I’ve been walking to many. I gave up a lot of hits, but that’s better than walks.”
The defending AL West champions have put together back-to-back sweeps for the first time this year, and they host the reigning NL champion San Francisco Giants in a three-game weekend series starting Friday.
Tejada, who had four hits in a game seven times in his career, went 5-for-5 with a home run and a double.
Tejada hit a solo shot in the third for a 1-0 lead, his 12th homer of the year. His double in the eighth was the first of five straight A’s hits as they added four more runs against Erasmo Ramirez, including Chavez’s shot. Ramon Hernandez went 3-for-5 after striking out in his first two at-bats.
Byrnes drove a 3-2 pitch from Mario Ramos (0-1) into the left-field bleachers in the fourth for his ninth homer of the year and fourth in six games to make it 4-0. He added a sixth-inning single for his team-leading 21st multihit game and scored on Tejada’s RBI single.
Byrnes already has had hitting streaks of 22 and 10 games this year, and has hit safely in 12 of 13.
Ramos was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma to make his major league debut. Ramos, a lefty who has also played at Double-A Frisco this season, hung in there despite allowing runners to reach second in the first and second innings.
He allowed four runs on five hits, struck out four and walked four.
Ramos was traded by the A’s after the 2001 season and saw former teammate and friend Byrnes spoil his first appearance in the majors.
“When I missed with a couple of pitches, I paid for it,” Ramos said. “The Adrenalin was just from being up here. That will come under control soon. I’m looking at this as the beginning of something, and not so much as the culmination of anything.”
Young and Teixeira drove in Texas’ two runs in the seventh.
Texas RF Juan Gonzalez was held out of the lineup after feeling tightness in his left groin and leaving Wednesday night’s game in the eighth inning. … To make room for Ramos, the Rangers optioned RHP R.A. Dickey to Oklahoma. Dickey was the losing pitcher in Wednesday’s 4-3, 11-inning loss to the A’s. The Rangers also agreed to terms with two undrafted free agents, shortstop Casey Benjamin from Tennessee Tech University and outfielder Brandon Cashman from Illinois. … Tejada last had four hits June 6 at Philadelphia. … Mulder became the fastest A’s pitcher to reach 10 wins in a season since Bob Welch got his 10th on June 15, 1990. He’s the fourth AL pitcher to get to10 wins. … Tejada’s five hits tied an Oakland record.