ARLINGTON – Ian Kinsler hit a go-ahead two-run single, Nelson Cruz robbed what would have been an extra-base hit and a few miscues throughout the day became a footnote as the Texas Rangers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers rallied back from three deficits on the day, and took three of four from the A’s to pull within one game of the top spot in the American League West.
Trailing 3-2 going to the seventh, the Rangers gained the lead. David Murphy led off with a double, but Robinson Chirinos laid down a poor sacrifice bunt attempt as the A’s retired Murphy advancing to third.
A.J. Pierzynski then singled to left, but Jurickson Profar popped up in foul territory. That’s how the day had been going for the Rangers, but Leonys Martin beat out an infield single to load the bases.
Kinsler then ripped a single to center that scored Chirinos and Pierzynski as the Rangers took their first lead of the day.
Tanner Scheppers, who got the final two outs of the seventh, worked a scoreless eighth, and Joe Nathan worked around a two-out single in the ninth for his 22nd save. The final out was recorded on a play at the plate, as Josh Donaldson was thrown out on a relay throw by Craig Gentry to Elvis Andrus to A.J. Pierzynski.
Josh Lindblom started the game for the Rangers and had base-runners reach every inning. But he didn’t allow a run until the fifth inning on an RBI single by Jed Lowrie, and was charged with another run in the sixth.
Lindblom started the inning by giving up an infield single to Brandon Moss, although it easily could have been a groundout. Profar made a nice stop, but lobbed the throw from his knees which allowed Moss to reach.
Josh Donaldson then singled, ending Lindblom’s day after five-plus innings. With three lefties due up, Joseph Ortiz entered and walked Seth Smith to load the bases. The A’s sent up right-handed pinch-hitter Chris Young, and the Rangers countered with Jason Frasor.
But Frasor walked Young as the A’s scored the go-ahead run. Robbie Ross came in and got the final three outs to keep the game within reach. Still, it was a rough inning for the Rangers, who needed four pitchers to get through it.
The Rangers responded in the home half, however, to tie it at 2-2. Kinsler drew a leadoff walk, moved to second a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus, third on a fly out by Cruz and scored when A’s reliever Ryan Cook uncorked a wild pitch.
The Rangers scored their first run of the day on a homer by Geovany Soto in the fifth, which tied it at 1-1.
-- Drew Davison