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Claudio slows A's after Griffin's early exit

Lefty delivers 3 2/3 shutout innings as Rangers end skid
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister was asked what reliever Alex Claudio meant to his team.

"Yeah, I think you asked me that in 2015 and again last year," Banister said.

Full Game Coverage

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister was asked what reliever Alex Claudio meant to his team.

"Yeah, I think you asked me that in 2015 and again last year," Banister said.

Full Game Coverage

No doubt but it is worth repeating after the Rangers' 10-5 victory over the Athletics on Friday night. Claudio earned the victory with 3 2/3 scoreless innings in long relief, and the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak.

"He has been special in so many situations," Banister said. "What he did tonight in giving us some length, getting ground balls, two double plays, only one hard contact. He's a guy who comes in and throws strikes, gets outs and gives us some length in winning situations. He's a huge contributor in the bullpen. He can pitch in any role."

Claudio picked up the Rangers at a moment in which they were in danger of squandering an 8-0 lead after two innings. Starter A.J. Griffin retired the first six batters he faced but gave up a three-run home run to Matt Joyce in the third and a solo shot to Khris Davis leading off the fourth.

More trouble followed as Stephen Vogt singled and Jed Lowrie walked. Griffin struck out Trevor Plouffe, but Yonder Alonso lined a single to right. Vogt showed no interest in trying to score, but right fielder Nomar Mazara threw home anyway. The throw was wild and got past catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

Griffin, backing up the plate, tried to make a diving stop on the warning track and only succeeded in scraping both knees and his right hand. The ball bounced back to Lucroy and Vogt stayed at third, but Griffin was done for the night.

He came out after a visit from trainer Kevin Harmon, but it was clear Banister was ready to make a move. Claudio had already been warming up prior to the play.

"I'm always getting ready after the third inning, usually that's my routine," Claudio said. "I never know what's going to happen so I stretch myself to get my blood going. That's the way I prepare."

Video: OAK@TEX: Odor starts a double play to end the 4th

Claudio was called upon to face Marcus Semien and missed with his first three pitches. Then he threw a sinker for a strike and another clocked at 85 mph. Semien hit it right at second baseman Rougned Odor for an inning-ending double play.

That left it, 8-4. Claudio then pitched three more scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk before turning it over to the rest of the bullpen.

"He shut the inning down and gave us a chance to score some runs," Lucroy said. "As a long man, he is pretty impressive."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

 

Texas Rangers, Alex Claudio, A.J. Griffin