By George Devine, Sr
If the A’s – now 4.5 games ahead in the AL West – go on to win the division, this night will probably be remembered as a key to their success. Ahead 9-3, Oakland came into the final frame with only a one-run lead, and prevailed 9-8 over the Texas Rangers at Arlington.
Yoenis Cespedes seemed to set the tone for the evening with a three-run homer to left center in the first. But the Rangers answered with two in the bottom of the inning, Dan Straily walked two, and a single by Adrian Beltre followed by A.J. Pierzynski’s sac fly made it a one-run game.
In the third, Josh Donaldson hit his 22nd homer of the year, to left. In the fourth, he doubled to center, after Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki had singled to the same location. The fifth inning saw Alberto Callaspo walk, then advance to second as Chris Young singled to left, and to third when Norris singled to right. Callaspo scored when Suzuki walked, bringing Norris to second and Young to third. Young came home when Coco Crisp sacrificed to center. Brandon Moss homered to right center in the sixth.
In the home eight, the Rangers’ bats came to life. Beltre walked on Brett Anderson, as did Pierzynski. Anderson then left the game due to what were described as back spasms, to be replaced by Jesse Chavez. Jim Adduci’s base hit to left loaded the bases. Leonys Martin subsequently reached on an infield base hit. Ryan Cook walked Ian Kinsler and that forced in a run. Elvis Andrus single to right, and the margin was trimmed to 9-6. The runners on base moved ahead on a passed ball. Alex Rios’ base hit then posted two more runs.
Sean Doolittle held the 9-8 lead through the ninth, as the game’s elapsed time passed the four-hour mark. He picked up his second save of the season. The winner is Straily (10-7; 5.2 ip, 2 h, 2 er, 4 w, 4 k) and the loser Derek Holland (9-8; 3 ip, 8 h, 6 er, 1 w, 2 k, 2 hr).
The two teams atop the AL West meet again at 10:05 a.m. PDT on Saturday, September 14 with Bartolo Colon (15-6) facing Yu Darvish (12-8).