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June 17, 2013

Wrapping up Rangers' 8-7 victory over Athletics

Ian Kinsler took less than a second to think of his answer. After all, the Rangers had just snapped their six-game losing streak by defeating the team ahead of them in the American League West standings.

"Yeah, it's a big win," Kinsler said. "Absolutely."

The Rangers' 8-7 win over the Athletics came with all the drama one can expect in an intense game. The Rangers had an early lead, lost it, rallied for it again and then made it stand in a drama-filled night.

The badly needed win came the night after manager Ron Washington held a team meeting.

"From the first inning you could feel there was a different energy in the dugout," A.J. Pierzynski said. "Wash did what he needed to do. It was the right time for it and hopefully he won't have to do that again this year."

Here are a few postgame notes:

* Nelson Cruz was the star of the game. He had two homers and four RBIs on the night. He had a solo shot in the fourth, bringing some momentum back after the A's had rallied for six runs and a 6-3 lead in the top half. He connected on a two-run shot to push the Rangers ahead 7-6 in the fifth, and then had an RBI double in the seventh that provided what proved to be a much-needed insurance run.

Cruz talked about his emotions after hitting the go-ahead homer in the fifth, saying: "It was the run we needed in that situation and I believe in my teammates and the bullpen to get it done."

* A.J. Pierzynski, one of the few batters hitting well in June, had another solid game at the plate. He had a two-run homer in the second off the right-field foul pole, and also had an RBI double in the fifth.

* Nick Tepesch struggled in his third straight start. He opened the game with three scoreless innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth. He gave up a leadoff double and then Yoenis Cespedes reached on a play with a questionable call. Things unraveled from there, as Tepesch allowed six runs and didn't get out of the inning. The 3 2/3 inning outing was his shortest outing since a 1 2/3 outing on April 20 when he took a liner off his right arm and exited.

Tepesch has gone 0-2 with a 9.77 ERA over his last three starts, but manager Ron Washington has no intentions of taking him out of the rotation. If the Rangers chose to make that sort of move, the likely choice would be left-hander Martin Perez, who threw six scoreless innings at Triple A Round Rock on Monday.

* With Tepesch taking a no-decision, the Rangers' starters this month remain winless. The 16-game drought for the rotation equals the longest in club history.

-- Drew Davison

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