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A's walk off with another win over Rangers

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- If a game is tied for the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the ninth or later, chances are good, the team will celebrate in walk-off fashion.

The A's surprising season continued Wednesday with another improbable win.

Brandon Hicks led off the bottom of the ninth with his first major league home run, giving the A's a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers. It was Oakland's ninth walk-off victory of the year.

"It's exciting to get a big hit in that situation," Hicks said. "Anytime you can win a game it's exciting for the team and for yourself. For (my first home run) to come like that it's an awesome feeling."

Josh Reddick hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh, and All-Star closer Ryan Cook (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.

Brandon Inge had two hits, including his eighth home run.

"It's not just one big superstar or couple of big superstars," Inge said. "This team is full of guys that grind it out every single day, work hard, play hard, practice hard and it pays off. It's good to see that everyone's contributing."

Texas' Michael Young and Nelson Cruz hit RBI singles in the sixth inning.

Left-hander Michael Kirkman (0-1) served up Hicks' homer after pitching a scoreless eighth inning.

"Well it is one of those days," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly didn't give them the game and you've got to give them credit for constantly fighting and then they pulled it off."

Trailing by two runs, the A's rallied to tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh. Inge doubled for his second hit of the game, and pinch hitter Chris Carter walked. Coco Crisp failed to execute a sacrifice bunt, and Jemile Weeks flied to center. However, Reddick came through with a two-out, two-strike double off the 15-foot wall in right-center, scoring Inge and pinch-runner Hicks.

"It ended up being a big hit for us and tied up the game to get to that opportunity," Reddick said. "This is a fun time and anybody wants to walk off any day but we just seem to start off slow and kick it up after about the sixth inning to make it a little more exciting.

A win's a win, we'll take them however we can get them."

In the ninth, Cook gave up a leadoff double to Cruz. He struck out Mike Napoli, then intentionally walked David Murphy. Craig Gentry popped out to short, and Ian Kinsler flied out to center to end the inning.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Brandon Snyder singled to right. On a double to left by Gentry, Snyder just beat the relay throw from third base as the Rangers took a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Inge, who had been in a terrible slump, homered to deep left center just over the center field wall to tie the game at 1-1.

Colby Lewis, activated from the disabled list before the game, pitched five innings, giving up three hits and a run. He had been out since June 24 because of right forearm tendinitis.

"I just wanted to go out there and pound the strike zone," Lewis said. "I had a couple of walks but overall I felt pretty good, like I was getting back on track.

"Overall, I felt I kept the team in the game and tried to go as long as I can."

Travis Blackley, in his eighth start for the Athletics, pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs.

In the sixth, the Rangers got a single by Elvis Andrus, who advanced to second on a balk. Adrian Beltre hit a hard grounder to third. Inge made a nice play on the ball but hesitated trying to get Andrus, who was coming toward third. Inge then slipped before he recovered and threw a one-hopper to first. Beltre was ruled safe on a fielder's choice, and runners were at the corners with one out. The Rangers went ahead on Young's single to left.

After Grant Balfour replaced Blackley, Nelson Cruz singled to make it a 3-1 Texas lead. Balfour struck out Mike Napoli and Snyder to end the inning.

NOTES: The Athletics have four walk-off wins during over their last seven home games. ... The A's have hit 11 home runs in the last five games and have hit 32 home runs total while going deep in 22 of their last 23 games. ... Inge ended an 8-for-63 slump with his home run. ... Oakland catcher Derek Norris is mired in an 0-for-23 slump. ... Napoli is 1-for-10 on the Rangers' road trip. ... Texas right-hander Neftali Feliz (elbow) is scheduled to make his second rehab start Friday for Class AAA Round Rock.
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