Rangers Beat Athletics After Eighth Inning Run Rally
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Craig Gentry’s bases-loaded triple in the eighth capped a four-run rally and Matt Harrison pitched eight strong innings to win his 11th game, lifting the Texas Rangers past the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.
Gentry, who entered in the seventh, lifted a fly ball to deep left off Oakland reliever Ryan Cook that gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Yoenis Cespedes appeared to misjudge Gentry’s ball as he took a few steps in at first before it flew over his head.
Oakland reliever Grant Balfour (1-2) issued a bases-loaded walk to Nelson Cruz with two outs in the eighth before he was replaced by Cook.
Harrison (11-3) threw a season-high 121 pitches, allowing two runs and eight hits. The left-hander joined Tampa Bay’s David Price as the American League’s only 11-game winners.
Oakland rookie A.J. Griffin made his second career start allowed two hits in six shutout innings.
The Rangers, who won their fourth in a row, had only two hits coming into the eighth inning before Elvis Andrus singled with one out.
Balfour walked Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to load the bases. On a 3-2 pitch, Cruz walked to force in Andrus.
Cook, who had allowed opponents to hit just .102 this season, relieved Balfour and gave up Gentry’s game-deciding triple.
Tanner Scheppers gave up a solo homer to Chris Carter with two outs in the ninth. He retired Seth Smith to end the game and pick up his first career save.
Harrison is making a push for his first All-Star game appearance two days before the teams are announced. He hasn’t lost since May 12 and is 5-0 in June.
Griffin struck out four and walked two against baseball’s top-scoring team. The 24-year-old pitched six innings in his big league debut Sunday against San Francisco. Hamilton and Cruz had the only hits off Griffin, who started the season pitching for Double-A Midland.
Griffin threw 67 of his 105 pitches for strikes and retired 13 in a row at one point before Hamilton’s bloop single in the sixth.
Cespedes was 2 for 4 and improved to 12 for 20 this season against Texas. Derek Norris and Jemile Weeks each had two hits for the A’s.
Weeks led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Cespedes’ single in the fourth. Coco Crisp had a two-out, RBI single in the fifth to extend Oakland’s lead to 2-0.
Notes: Matt Hicks will join the Rangers radio broadcast team Saturday on a temporary basis. Steve Busby has moved from radio to television broadcasts while play-by-play announcer Dave Barnett is out with what he called “complicated migraines”. Barnett has been off the air since June 18 when he gave a rambling, incoherent description that confused viewers. Hicks called games for the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate for the Houston Astros, since 2004. . Carter was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. . Balfour’s streak of 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings over 10 games ended.