Rangers 5, Athletics 4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Texas Rangers heard about their owner’s critical words back home, then went out and won their third straight game and took a series from the division leader.
As far as mental toughness goes, the Rangers disagree with Tom Hicks’ assessment that it’s something they’re lacking.
“Toughness is not an issue in this clubhouse,” Young said. “If we get outplayed, fine, I’ll say it and answer questions about it. But don’t question my approach to the game or my passion for baseball. I know it wasn’t directed at me, but he called out the team and the ones who shoulder the load take it personal.”
“We need to be a little tougher,” Hicks told Dallas radio station KTCK-AM. “We need to be mentally tougher. I think we missed David Dellucci (traded to the Phillies before the season) this year. I think that leadership in the clubhouse part is really important, and we didn’t have that after he left.”
Frank Thomas hit his 31st home run of the year, a three-run shot in the sixth that pulled Oakland within 5-4. It gave the Big Hurt 1,553 career RBIs and moved him past Fred McGriff for 36th place on the career list. The 38-year-old Thomas, enjoying a resurgence this season following two injury-shortened years with the White Sox, is two RBIs from tying Willie McCovey for 35th—and he’s making the case for Oakland to bring him back for the 2007 season.
“That’s the time of year men come out, and he’s playing like a man,” manager Ken Macha said of Thomas.
Oakland has lost a series for the first time in 12 chances. The A’s won 10 and split a four-game set with Kansas City after dropping two of three games to the Boston Red Sox at home from July 24-26.
Adam Eaton (5-4), who lost to the A’s in Arlington on Aug. 26, won for the first time in three road starts. He gave up five hits and four runs, struck out five and walked one in 5 2-3 innings. Akinori Otsuka, who has had migraine headaches in recent weeks, pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his 31st save in 34 opportunities.
The A’s had the go-ahead run on first after Jay Payton hit a broken-bat infield single following Eric Chavez’s one-out walk from Wes Littleton. But Nick Swisher, who had homered earlier, struck out swinging and pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay grounded out.
After Thomas’ homer, Chavez walked and later stole third. He initially was called out by third base umpire Marty Foster, but DeRosa apparently dropped the ball on the throw from catcher Gerald Laird. Chavez was credited with his third stolen base of the season.
Kirk Saarloos (7-7) had his four-game winning streak snapped for his first loss in eight appearances since a defeat July 17 at Baltimore.
DeRosa connected for his 13th homer with one out in the third, two batters after Lee singled in a run to give Texas a 1-0 lead. And Saarloos was done after the third inning and only 60 pitches, giving way to Brad Halsey. He allowed seven hits and four runs, struck out one and walked three.
DeRosa didn’t take offense to Hicks’ comments.
“If he’s not happy with our play, he has a right to say that,” DeRosa said.
Swisher hit a solo homer with two outs in the fifth for the first-place A’s, who lost the series opener Monday 8-1 and had their AL West lead trimmed to 5 1/2 games over Los Angeles after the Angels beat Baltimore 5-2 in 10 innings.
Swisher has 29 homers, two behind Thomas for the team lead. The two have been close in the category all year.
Young, who went hitless Monday, needs 15 hits to reach 200 for the fourth straight season.
CF Kotsay did not start because of spasms in his upper back, but Oakland manager Ken Macha was hopeful he would play Wednesday’s series finale— the final meeting of the year for the clubs. … Of the 18 games between these teams this season, 15 have been decided by three or fewer runs. … The A’s claimed RHP Jerome Williams off waivers from the Chicago Cubs and brought up INF D’Angelo Jimenez from Triple-A Sacramento. Oakland designated RHP Matt Roney and INF Mike Rouse for assignment.