ARLINGTON (AP) – A night after getting the key hits against Oakland, the Texas Rangers gave one up.
George Kottaras hit a leadoff homer against Mark Lowe in the 10th inning and the Athletics moved within four games of the AL West lead by beating the first-place Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
In the opener of the four-game series, Texas rallied from a two-run deficit to beat the A’s 5-4 on Adrian Beltre’s game-ending single.
This time, it was Oakland that came up with the clutch hit late.
The A’s and Rangers play each other five more times over the final eight games of the season.
“We’re playing a lot of tight games,” Texas’ Michael Young said. “That’s what makes this so much fun.”
Texas’ magic number remained at five for clinching its third straight division crown.
The A’s remained two games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot. The Angels beat Seattle 5-4.
“Each and every win has a little bit more magnitude to it, especially against a team that’s above you,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “This team’s responded like this many, many times this year. It doesn’t surprise me.”
Scheduled starter Yu Darvish was scratched by the Rangers about 2½ hours before the first pitch because of a stiff neck. Scott Feldman took his place.
Feldman was removed after allowing a leadoff single to Kottaras in the fifth. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in four-plus innings before being relieved by Michael Kirkman.
Kirkman, Koji Uehara and Alexi Ogando combined for five shutout innings. The trio allowed one hit and struck out nine before the Rangers turned it over to Lowe in the 10th.
Lowe hadn’t pitched in a week and has allowed six runs over has past 1 1-3 innings. Rangers manager Ron Washington elected not use setup man Mike Adams or closer Joe Nathan, who both pitched the past two days.
“It’s hard to sit out there and not pitch and be on top of your game,” Lowe said. “It’s not an excuse, but it makes it harder to be consistent.”
Kottaras hit a 3-2 fastball from Lowe (0-2) into the first row of the upper deck in right field. The catcher has six home runs for the A’s since he was acquired July 29 from Milwaukee.
Evan Scribner (1-0) earned his first career victory with a perfect 10th, and Grant Balfour got three outs for his 21st save in 23 chances.
Oakland has played five consecutive one-run games, winning two. The A’s are 3-5 on a 10-game road trip against Detroit, the New York Yankees and the Rangers.
“It’s an exciting feeling to be in this position,” Kottaras said. “All we can do is control how we play. We’ve had a bunch of tough losses, but we keep pushing.”
A’s starter Tommy Milone gave up three straight singles to start the game before retiring 15 of his next 16 batters. The young lefty yielded two unearned runs and six hits over six innings.
Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus opened the first with consecutive singles. Josh Hamilton lined a single to right that went under Brandon Moss’ glove, allowing Kinsler and Andrus to score on the error.
Hamilton, however, was stranded at third as the next three hitters failed to drive him home.
“Give Milone credit, he pitched out of it,” Washington said.
Moss, who played his 21st game in the outfield this season, started in right for a slumping Josh Reddick — mired in an 0-for-28 slump.
Reddick came in as a pinch-hitter and lined out to end the eighth.
Moss made up for his misplay with a running catch of Andrus’ deep fly on the warning track with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
Daric Barton, making his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 10, had an RBI double in the second to cut Oakland’s deficit to 2-1.
Chris Carter hit a solo homer for the A’s with two outs in the fourth to tie the score. He came into the game in a 6-for-45 funk with 27 strikeouts over his last 14 games.
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