Brandon Moss hit a pair of home runs Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium and Josh Reddick connected on his first of the spring, but the Texas Rangers came up with two runs in the top of the ninth to beat the Oakland Athletics in a wild Cactus League affair, 16-15. Both teams were split squads.
Oakland (7-7) led 13-6 after five innings before the Rangers (4-10) rallied for 10 runs over the final four innings as it was fair to say runs were not at a premium. Each team racked up 17 hits.
Trailing 15-14 heading into the ninth, it didn’t take Texas long to tie it up. Nick Williams led off the top of the ninth with a game-tying homer off Deryk Hooker (1-1), Williams’ second homer in three innings. The Rangers took the lead moments later after Robinson Chirinos doubled to center, Kensuke Tanaka bunted pinch-runner Adam Rosales to third and Brent Lillibridge scored him on a sacrifice fly to right.
The A’s never mounted a threat in the bottom of the ninth, going down in order against Roman Mendez.
Oakland came back with four in the bottom of the first. Josh Donaldson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Brandon Moss followed with a two-run homer to right-center and Reddick made it back-to-back jacks with a line shot to right.
Texas made it 6-3 in the third on an RBI groundout by Mitch Moreland, but the A’s got the run back on a sacrifice fly by Jaso in the bottom of the frame.
The Rangers got three in the fourth. Choice led off with a solo homer and Josh Wilson cracked a two-run double. Reddick’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning made it 8-6.
In the fifth, Jaso had a two-run single, Jed Lowrie looped an RBI double to right and Moss smacked his second two-run homer of the day to pit Oakland up 13-6.
Elvis Andrus delivered a two-run single in the sixth and Moreland drove in a run with a ground-ball single to cut the A’s lead to 13-9 and the Rangers took the lead in the seventh with a five-run outburst. Lewis Brinson, Bryan Peterson and J.P. Arencibia strung together consecutive doubles to lead off the inning and pinch-hitter Williams hit his first homer to center. Chirinos followed with a homer of his own to left field—all against A’s reliever Ryan Dull.
Oakland reclaimed the lead in the seventh. Jaso singled and went to third when the ball got away from center fielder Lewis Brinson. Jaso scored on McKinney’s double and Nate Freiman scored McKinney with a single to center off the glove of Lillibridge at shortstop.
Frank Gailey pitched a scoreless inning in the seventh in relief of Dull and Blake Hassebrock struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth. The rest of Oakland’s pitchers didn’t get off as easily. Leon started and gave up three runs in 2.2 innings, Evan Scribner was touched for three runs in 2.1 innings, Philip Humber gave up three runs in his only inning, Dull was rocked for five runs—including two homers—without recording an out and Hooker surrendered two runs in 1.2 innings of work.