OAKLAND, Calif. — Nelson Cruz launched a three-run homer in the fifth inning Wednesday, and Alexi Ogando took a no-hitter in the sixth inning as the Rangers beat Oakland 6-2 to win the three-game series.
The homer was Cruz’s 10th of the season and his third on the four-city, nine-game road trip, but it was only his fifth hit of the trip. However, he headed for home with nine RBIs in the nine games and a team-best 32 on the season.
The Rangers went 6-3 on the trip and have stretched out to a seven-game lead in the American League West.
Cruz also made the defensive play of the game after Ogando had surrendered his first hit and run.
The A’s had runners at first and second with two outs when Brandon Moss sent a drive into the gap in right-center field. But Cruz sprinted into the gap, dived and made the grab to end the inning.
Lance Berkman, though, got the Rangers going against Dan Straily, who ran into trouble with two outs in the third. He allowed a single to Leonys Martin and then hit Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus on consecutive pitches.
Berkman followed with a broken bat single to center that plated the game’s first two runs.
The Rangers unloaded for four runs in the fifth, a rally that started with Andrus reaching on a one-out throwing error by shortstop Jed Lowrie. Andrus stole second, Berkman walked, and Andrus took third before Adrian Beltre singled him home for a 3-0 lead.
Jesse Chavez relieved Straily, but Cruz swatted his first pitch over the wall in left-center field to make it 6-0.
The A’s collected their first hit and run against Ogando in the sixth, an inning that would have been more productive if not for the Cruz catch. Ogando faced only one batter in the seventh, allowing a single to Josh Donaldson, before giving way to Michael Kirkman.
Oakland loaded the bases with one out but got only one run on a Coco Crisp sacrifice fly. Ogando allowed two runs in six innings to improve to 4-2 on the season.
Kirkman worked 2 1/3 scorelss inning, working out of the trouble in the seventh, and Tanner Scheppers got the final two outs even though he had worked two innings Tuesday night.
-- Jeff Wilson