ARLINGTON – Before the game, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington didn’t put too much stake into today’s game against the Oakland Athletics. He wasn’t going to call it the biggest game to date.
In Washington’s mind, win or lose, the Rangers would still be leading the American League West. But he has to be feeling better after the Rangers held on for a 9-7 victory over the Athletics on Thursday afternoon.
Texas extended its lead to four games over Oakland with six to play, and dropped the playoff magic number to three.
The Rangers started the game strong with a five-run first inning. Ian Kinsler got the rally going with a leadoff homer, Michael Young came through with a two-run single and Mike Napoli belted a two-run opposite field shot to cap it off.
The A’s and Rangers swapped single runs in the second and third, and each scored two a piece in the fourth.
Trailing 9-4 going into the eighth, Oakland pulled within striking distance, 9-7, with three solo homers off Texas setup man Mike Adams. Rangers right-hander Koji Uehara got the final out of the eighth, though, and Joe Nathan closed out the ninth for his 36th save.
Texas starter Matt Harrison won his 18th game, allowing four runs on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts over six innings.
-- Drew Davison