Mar 1, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Nick Punto (1) makes the throw for the out against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Burns Plays A Big Role As Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers Play To 2-2 Tie


Mar 1, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Two Texas Rangers errors in the bottom of the eighth allowed Billy Burns to make his way on base and to the plate, allowing the Oakland Athletics to pick up a 2-2 tie in Cactus League action at Phoenix Municipal Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The game was called after nine innings.

Trailing 2-1, Burns reached on an error by Texas second baseman Josh Wilson and then stole second base. After Aaron Poreda struck out the next two hitters, Luke Montz hit what appeared to be an inning ending grounder to short. Rangers first baseman Jim Adduci couldn’t come up with Adam Rosales’ throw, allowing Burns to score from second base.

The A’s had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off Texas starter Martin Perez. Burns led off with an infield single and went to second on a walk to Nick Punto. Burns stole third, with Punto moving up to second on the back end, and Oakland manufactured a run with Yoenis Cespedes’ one-out sacrifice fly to center field.

It stayed 1-0 until the top of the seventh. Wilson greeted reliever Fernandez Nieve with a single to right and scored on a double by Jurickson Profar. Jared Hoying made it back-to-back doubles, driving in Profar to give Texas a 2-1 lead.

Brad Snyder followed with a single to center field, but Burns’ throw to the plate was in time to get Hoying trying to score.

Sonny Gray made his first start of the spring for Oakland and worked two scoreless innings, surrendering two hits and two walks while striking out two. The A’s had their power arms on, as Evan Scribner, Drew Pomeranz, Luke Gregerson and Andrew Werner each worked a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Oakland pitchers notched 13 strikeouts on the day while surrendering 10 hits.

Fernando Abad and Deryk Hooker had a scoreless inning apiece for Oakland, as well.

Burns had two of the A’s five hits, scored both runs and threw out what would have been the decisive run at the plate. He’s 4-for-11 in the early going this spring.

The A’s will visit the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. Pacific.

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