A’s beat first-place Rangers to avoid 3-game sweep
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Texas Rangers are testing their own patience with six games to go.
They gave up a chance Thursday to inch closer to a second straight AL West crown.
The reigning AL champion Rangers had their magic number reduced to two when the Angels lost to Toronto later Thursday night.
“We just have to keep winning series. If we do that we’ll be fine,” manager Ron Washington said. “The sooner we win games to wrap it up, you want to do it. At the same time we don’t look too far ahead. It is the way it is. … If we keep playing like this, pretty soon it will happen.”
Texas, which held a five-game lead over Los Angeles entering Thursday, headed home for three games with the Mariners before ending the regular season at Anaheim.
“We’d love to do it as soon as possible,” second baseman Ian Kinsler(notes) said. “Whether it’s the first game, second game or third game at home, it would be a lot of fun if we’re able to do it in front of our home crowd.”
Grant Balfour(notes) (5-2) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the win, then Andrew Bailey(notes) finished for his 21st save in 23 chances as the A’s snapped Texas’ four-game winning streak and handed the Rangers just their second loss in 10 games.
Texas had its five-game winning streak at the Coliseum snapped and finished 13-6 in the season series—matching its most wins against an opponent in one year.
“A team that beats up on you, you better have a little extra hate for them,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Colby Lewis(notes) went 4-0 in six starts against his former A’s team this year but missed a chance to join Ferguson Jenkins in becoming the only Rangers pitchers to win five games against Oakland in a season. Jenkins had been the lone pitcher in Texas history to beat an opponent five times in one year—against the A’s and Minnesota in 1974.
Lewis struck out the side in order in the fourth and finished with seven Ks and two walks. He allowed three runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted from my chest,” Weeks said. “I had pretty much thought if it didn’t happen by now it wasn’t going to happen. Today is one of the best days to get it done.”
Weeks snapped a 90-game homeless streak, the second-longest to start a career in Oakland history behind Mike Bordick’s 132 games without a longball before connecting on May 10, 1992. Weeks reached base in all four of his plate appearances Thursday with two other hits.
Lewis allowed his AL-leading 35th home run.
“If I’m leading the league in home runs, it might as well be me who gives it up, his first one,” Lewis said.
Oakland avoided falling a season-worst 18 games below .500, which would have been its lowest since finishing the 1997 season 32 games below.
The A’s completed their home schedule a day after Melvin received a new three-year contract to be the permanent manager. Oakland went 43-38 at the Coliseum for its second straight winning season at home. The A’s finish with three games in Anaheim, then three in Seattle.
Crisp crashed his left side hard into the center-field wall trying to make a play on Beltre’s second-inning double. He went down briefly but stayed in the game.
NOTES: Sizemore didn’t start as he nurses shoulder tendinitis. … Rangers RHP reliever Mark Lowe’s(notes) playoff status is in doubt after he returned to Arlington to have his injured left hamstring examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Lowe has a Grade 2 strain, GM Jon Daniels said. The pitcher was hurt running sprints during warmups before Wednesday night’s game. Righty reliever Michael Gonzalez(notes) also flew home Thursday because of an illness. The team didn’t consider his bug to be anything serious. Gonzalez is 2-2 with one save and a 4.38 ERA in 54 outings. … Actor Danny Glover threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … A’s LHP starter Gio Gonzalez(notes) received this year’s “Good Guy” award from the local chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Gonzalez (14-12) starts Friday night against the Angels trying to become Oakland’s first back-to-back 15-game winner since Mark Mulder in 2003-04. Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 3.20 ERA over his last six starts. … LHP Matt Harrison(notes) (13-9) pitches for the Rangers on Friday.