The Texas Rangers battled back from an early deficit, taking the lead on Donnie Murphy’s RBI single in the top of the eighth to beat the Oakland Athletics Monday at O.co Coliseum, 4-3.
The A’s (13-6) had taken a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second against Texas ace Yu Darvish.
Brandon Moss—starting in left field in place of Yoenis Cespedes, out with a bruised heel—led off the inning with his third homer of the season to tie the game 1-1. Josh Reddick drew a one-out walk and after Daric Barton struck out, Eric Sogard cracked a double to right that advanced Reddick to third.
Coco Crisp lined a single to left that scored Reddick and Sogard and the A’s had a 3-1 lead.
But A’s starter Dan Straily couldn’t hold it.
Texas (12-8) got a run back in the fourth on an RBI single by Kevin Kozmanoff and then tied it in the fifth on an RBI single by Prince Fielder.
Straily worked five innings, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He allowed Shin-soo Choo’s solo homer with one-out in the top of the first.
Sean Doolittle (0-1) came on to start the eighth for Oakland and Kouzmanoff greeted him with a double to deep right field. Mitch Moreland sacrificed Kouzmanoff to third and Murphy delivered a base hit up the middle to give the Rangers the lead.
The A’s did get a runner to second base in the ninth, when Elvis Andrus threw wildly to first after fielding Jed Lowrie’s ground ball, but Josh Donaldson and Cespedes—who entered the game in the seventh as a pinch-hitter for Moss and remained in the game in left field—hit fly ball outs off Joakim Soria to end the game. Soria picked up his fourth save while Neal Cotts (1-1) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
Ryan Cook allowed a hit and a strikeout in a scoreless sixth for the A’s, Fernando Abad did the same in the seventh and Dan Otero allowed a hit and a walk with a strikeout while recording the final four outs. Doolittle allowed a run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Crisp was 3-for-4 and Barton went 2-for-4 to pace the A’s nine-hit attack.
The series continues Tuesday. Lefty Tommy Milone (0-1, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to start for Oakland against right-hander Nick Martinez (0-0, 4.50), who made his big-league debut at Tampa Bay on April 5 before being sent back to Triple-A Frisco. He is expected to be recalled Tuesday to replace injured Tanner Scheppers in the Texas rotation.