Big 7th powers A's to sweep Rangers
ARLINGTON -- A two-out rally in the seventh inning propelled the Athletics to a 6-3 win against the Rangers on Thursday and completed their three-game sweep at Globe Life Park.
Billy Burns hit an opposite-field single with two out in the seventh that extended his hit streak to 15 games and started a rally eventually capped with a two-run single from Josh Reddick. The A's scored three runs in the inning against Texas relievers Keone Kela and Sam Freeman to break a tie and go ahead, 6-3. Reddick finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Stephen Vogt added three hits and Eric Sogard added two for the A's.
"I think the whole outing makes me mad," Freeman said. " ... Just not being able to come through and strand those runners, that's tough."
The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead and got a home run and two RBIs from Mitch Moreland, but it wasn't enough to stop Sonny Gray from getting his third win against Texas this season. Oakland won its fifth straight, and the Rangers lost their fifth in a row.
"This is the kind of ride we need to stay on," Reddick said. "We've gotten to the point where we're clicking on all cylinders, and we've just got to keep that up and ride this as long as we can."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-out toughness: Twice, the A's notched big hits with two outs. In the fifth, they loaded the bases on three walks, and after Marcus Semien lined out to shortstop, Sam Fuld came through with a two-run single to center to tie the game. The Rangers responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but Reddick re-tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and he came back in the seventh to ground a two-run single to right field with two outs to break it open.
"Fuld's hit is probably the biggest hit of the game, even though we came up with some big ones after that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Lewis has really handed it to us, and the way it was going there for a while, it looked like he was going to have his way with us again. We started making him throw some pitches and making him work, even though we weren't getting results, then Sam came up with the big hit, and we were able to get him out of there."
Losing leads: Rangers starter Colby Lewis had faced the minimum through four, but a leadoff walk in the fifth signaled a rough last two innings. Oakland broke through to score a combined three runs against Lewis in the fifth and sixth. Lewis walked three in the fifth and allowed three hits in the sixth. He finished with a no-decision but made his fifth quality start in June. Kela was charged with two earned runs in the seventh and took his fourth loss in his past nine outings.
"Last two innings, the fifth is what I'm more disappointed in myself," Lewis said. "I've got to go out there and have a better inning, but I didn't, so it turned on me." More >
Late-inning lockdown: An A's bullpen that's endured its fair share of struggles this season culminated an encouraging series with three more scoreless innings. In three games against the Rangers, A's relievers allowed just one unearned run over nine innings. Lefty Drew Pomeranz pitched three of those frames, on Thursday tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Gray.
"Success breeds confidence, and you can feel everyone in the dugout feels now that, at least this series, we had a good chance when those guys came in," Melvin said. More >
Left on: Moreland and Robinson Chirinos each had two-out RBIs for the Rangers, but Texas still left eight men on base and couldn't break through despite matching Oakland with 10 hits. Rookie outfielder Joey Gallo had a double, but struck out twice to give him 20 strikeouts in his past 10 games. More >
"Last second half was not fun to be a part of. It was rough, and a lot of struggles there. We kind of seemed to pick up where we left off the end of last year. For us to get out of that grind, get out of that hole, is something we needed for a long time. I wish it would've happened earlier, but at this point, you'll take it. We're playing great baseball right now" -- Reddick
"We know there are going to be stretches like this. We talked about it. How you react to them, how you bounce back from them, how you answer back is probably the most important thing." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gray joins Bartolo Colon as the only pitcher to win his first five career starts in Arlington. Colon was 5-0 with the Angels from 2004-07. Gray is 5-0 and has allowed only four earned runs in 37 1/3 innings at Texas.
The Rangers announced Thursday that outfielder Delino DeShields will work out Friday and is likely to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Round Rock in Omaha. Right-handed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf will begin a stint with Round Rock on Friday, and left-handed pitcher Martin Perez will make a rehab start for Round Rock on Saturday.
Athletics: The A's return to Oakland for the start of a 10-game homestand, with right-hander Jesse Hahn (5-5, 3.40 ERA) making the start in Friday's series opener against the Royals at 7:05 p.m. PT.
Rangers: Texas travels to Toronto to begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays on Friday at 6:07 p.m. CT. Right-hander Nick Martinez, who is 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his past three starts, will be on the mound.
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