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By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange August 3, 2013 2:50 AM
Texas Rangers stayed red-hot, pounding out 12 hits and beating the Oakland A's 8-3 in the opener of a three-game series.OAKLAND, Calif. -- On a cool Friday night at O.co Coliseum, the
Nelson Cruz and Jurickson Profar hit two-run homers and the Rangers won their fifth straight game, cutting Oakland's lead in the American League West to 2 1/2 games. The Rangers have gained 3 1/2 games on the A's in the past four days. "It was very important," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the win. "We've been playing good baseball, and the opportunity tonight, we came out and continued it. That's the one thing we're trying to do, just continue to play good baseball. "It's always nice when you're on a road trip to get the first one, and these are the guys we're chasing. So it's nice to at least have one under our belt already." The A's lost their third straight game and have dropped seven of their 11 against Texas. Leonys Martin, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski had two hits apiece for the Rangers. Pierzynski drove in three runs. "We feel good," Andrus said. "I think everything started going the right way. We're having great at-bats, quality at-bats. Our pitching just keeps doing what they're doing the whole season. It's a lot of fun right now." Before beginning their 10-game road trip, the Rangers swept three games from the Los Angeles Angels on three straight walk-off homers and then crushed the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 on Thursday in a makeup game. "Three dramatic wins at home like that gives you a lot of confidence, and you feel like you don't have to pressure yourself early in the game," A's first baseman Brandon Moss said of the Rangers. "They got hits with guys on and scored more runs. We hit balls they caught." A's left-hander Tommy Milone (9-9) lasted only 3 2/3 innings against the Rangers, giving up six runs and nine hits. He fell to 0-4 in five career starts against Texas, the first four at Arlington. "That was pretty terrible," Milone said. "They did a good job of hitting my mistakes. I didn't make that big pitch. I fell behind early on. The second and third it kind of escalated. I wasn't able to find anything." Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando struggled with his command and left after throwing 94 pitches in four innings. Ogando gave up three runs and four hits. He walked five, struck out one and received a no-decision. "I just didn't feel good tonight," Ogando said. "I didn't have my control like I wanted, like I normally have. It was just one of those nights." Rangers relievers Robbie Ross, Jason Frasor, Tanner Scheppers, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria combined to blank the A's on three hits in the final five innings. Frasor pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win. The A's took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. Ogando issued back-to-back walks to Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes, and Moss drilled a two-run double off the left-field wall. Texas answered with two runs in the second when Beltre hit a leadoff single and, with one out, Cruz lined a two-run homer off Milone over the 400-foot mark in center field. The Rangers took a 4-2 lead in the third. Martin led off with a sharp single to center and Andrus followed with a single to left, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in the majors. Both runners tagged and advanced on Ian Kinsler's flyout to center field. Beltre brought Martin home on a groundout and Pierzynski hit an RBI single to center. The Rangers extended their lead to 6-2 in the fourth. Craig Gentry doubled with one out and Profar crushed a two-run homer off Milone to left. Oakland scored a run in the fourth as Josh Reddick led off with a walk and scored on Coco Crisp's two-out double. NOTES: Washington won his 581st game and tied Bobby Valentine for the most victories in franchise history. ... INF Adam Rosales was claimed by Texas off waivers from the A's on Friday. Rosales was designated for assignment twice last month, on July 8 and July 31. He cleared waivers the first time and went to Triple-A Sacramento before being recalled by the A's on July 24. This time, Texas made sure Rosales didn't return to the A's organization. ... OF Engel Beltre was sent to Triple-A Round Rock, opening a spot on the Rangers' 25-man roster for Rosales. Beltre hit .300 (9-for-30) with a double, two RBIs and five runs scored in his first major-league stint, appearing in 13 games. ... A's LHP Brett Anderson (right foot stress fracture, sprained right ankle) pitched to batters on Friday for the first time since going on the disabled list on May 1. He threw around 55 pitches. "Threw all his pitches," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It looked like everything went smoothly to me -- and no complaints from him as far as physically." Melvin said the next step in Anderson's comeback would be based on how he feels Saturday. Earlier in the week, Melvin said Anderson could go on a rehab assignment or throw to A's batters again.