OAKLAND, Calif. — Brandon Hicks started the ninth inning with his first major-league home run
as Oakland avoided a two-game sweep to the Rangers with a 4-3 walkoff victory.
Hicks entered the at-bat hitting .147, but he took Michael Kirkman deep to right field.
Colby Lewis pitched five innings in his return from the disabled list, allowing one run on three hits, but saw the Rangers’ bullpen wasted a 3-1 lead.
The Rangers finally broke through against Travis Blackley in the fifth, when No. 8 hitter Brandon Snyder singled with two outs and chugged home on Gentry’s double to left field.
But the A’s wasted no time in erasing the deficit as Brandon Inge started the bottom half with a solo shot to center field. Lewis stranded Coco Crisp at third in his second consecutive labor-intensive inning after needing only 31 pitches over the first three.
He was pulled after throwing 75 pitches in his first start since June 23, but he left in position for the win as the Rangers struck for two in the sixth.
Elvis Andrus singled to start the inning and went to second on a balk by Travis Blackley. After Josh Hamilton flied out and Adrian Beltre reached on a fielder’s choice, Michael Young singled in Andrus and Nelson Cruz followed with single off reliever Grant Balfour.
It was Cruz’s first career high against the right-hander in nine at-bats.
The bullpen, though, couldn’t hold the 3-1 lead. Robbie Ross worked a scoreless sixth but allowed a double to Inge to start the seventh, and Alexi Ogando walked No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington.
Ogando got the next two hitters, but Josh Reddick smacked a double off the right-field wall to knot the score. One of the runs was charged to Ross, who saw his streak of consecutive scoreless innings snapped at 24.
-- Jeff Wilson