Athletics 3, Rangers 1
Hatteberg hit a three-run double off Rangers closer Ugueth Urbina in the ninth inning to give the Oakland Athletics a 3-1 win over Texas on Monday night, extending the Rangers’ losing streak to eight games.
“You want to be in those situations,” said Hatteberg, who is batting .474 against Texas this season. “He’s a great pitcher, he was throwing hard. I looked up and he was throwing 97. I knew that’s what he was going to try and get me out with.”
It was the 20th loss in the last 22 games for the Rangers, their worst stretch since going 2-21 in September 1972. Earlier this season, Texas lost nine straight from May 30-June 8.
The Athletics trailed 1-0 heading into the ninth but loaded the bases with no outs against closer Urbina.
Ramon Hernandez doubled to lead off the ninth for Oakland and Billy McMillon followed with a walk. Mark Ellis then laid down a sacrifice bunt, which Urbina fielded and threw to first, but first baseman Mark Teixeira dropped the ball, loading the bases.
One out later, Hatteberg cleared the bases with a double to right-center, giving the Athletics their ninth victory in 10 games.
“He always gives you a very intense at-bat, “ Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “Comebacks in the ninth inning like that don’t happen very often but our guys were scratching and clawing. Everybody did their job in that inning and that gives you confidence that you can come back.”
It was the fourth blown save for Urbina (0-3) in 22 chances.
The ninth-inning rally also prevented Texas from beating Oakland starter Barry Zito for the first time in 15 tries.
“It seems like the same story line with Zito. He makes the pitches when he needs to and gets out of jams,” Alex Rodriguez said.
Zito had been 9-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 93 2-3 innings against the Rangers entering the game. He allowed four hits over six innings, while striking out three and walking four, and was on the hook for the loss before Hatteberg’s double.
Texas got the game’s first run in the sixth when Zito began having control problems after walking only one in the first five innings.
Zito issued a leadoff walk to Michael Young, gave up a bunt single to Carl Everett, and walked Rodriguez to load the bases. After Zito got Juan Gonzalez on a popup, he walked Rafael Palmeiro to force in a run.
“A lot of times I try to be too fine, but here I’d rather walk a guy then give a 3-2 cookie,” Zito said.
The Rangers had a chance to increase their lead but Oakland shortstop Miguel Tejada made a diving catch on a line drive by Teixeira, then threw to second to double off Rodriguez.
Texas starter Tony Mounce allowed four hits over five shutout innings before tiring in the sixth.
Mounce took a shutout into the sixth, but was lifted after 105 pitches when he walked Hernandez to start the inning and threw one pitch to Adam Piatt. Mounce walked five and struck out four.
Rookie Rosman Garcia pitched two perfect innings of relief, and was set topick up first major league victory before the Rangers came back.
The hitters had trouble seeing the ball through the sun’s glare and the shadows across the infield in the early innings of a game that started an hour earlier than normal because it was being broadcast on national television. …Teixeira got his 11th start at third before moving over to first to start the ninth. He also has 29 starts at first base, six in left field, four in right field and five at DH. … This is Foulke’s third season with at least 20saves.