OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Rangers manager Ron Washington kept calm and stuck with his reliable closer even as Joe Nathan pitched himself into serious trouble.
Nathan delivered for his toughest save of the year after Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking home run in the 10th inning and Mitch Moreland followed with his second of the game to help Texas edge the Oakland Athletics 6-5 on Tuesday night.
Nathan gave up a run in the bottom of the 10th but escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam to snap Texas’ four-game losing streak to the A’s.
“When you’ve got your closer out there, you tell yourself, `This is the end, this is your closer, the guy I have to live or die with,”‘ Washington said. “It was very relaxing. I had all the confidence in the world Joe would get us the three we needed.”
Beltre sent a 3-0 pitch from Chris Resop (1-1) to center field with one out in the 10th for his ninth homer of the year. Moreland connected two batters later, giving him three of his nine home runs in the past two games. He also hit a two-run shot in the fourth.
Nathan needed 31 pitches to nail down his 12th save in as many chances this season.
After a pair of one-out walks and a mound visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux, Seth Smith doubled in a run. Nathan intentionally walked Brandon Moss before striking out Daric Barton on seven pitches. The All-Star closer then retired pinch-hitter Eric Sogard on a first-pitch groundout to end a game that took 3 hours, 43 minutes.
Tanner Scheppers (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Nelson Cruz’s second sacrifice fly of the game tied it in the eighth against Ryan Cook.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was ejected by first base umpire D.J. Reyburn for arguing a close call on Barton’s groundout that ended the eighth, the third time the reigning AL Manager of the Year has been tossed in 2013.
“I thought for sure from where I was that he was safe, and it wasn’t the case,” Melvin said. “I think it was very close but it looked like he was out and he got the call right. I deserved to be thrown out.”
The AL West-leading Rangers (25-14) bounced back a night after having their four-game winning streak snapped in a 5-1 loss Monday to the 2012 division champions, who swept Texas in the final three regular-season games last fall to steal away the West crown.
Texas also stopped a five-game skid in the Coliseum with the club’s first victory here since July 17 last year. It marked the longest home unbeaten run for the A’s in the rivalry since winning eight in a row from June 17, 2003, to April 6, 2004.
“They’ve had a good run against us here,” Nathan said. “They’re a tough ballclub and they know how to win games.”
Nate Freiman hit a go-ahead double in the sixth after Luke Montz’s tying sacrifice fly, but Cook couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the eighth.
Josh Donaldson doubled twice among his career high-matching four hits for the A’s. But there was no celebratory walk-off this time after Oakland had 14 of them last year.
“We always feel like we have the capability to win at any time, especially when it’s late in the game and we’re at home,” Donaldson said.
A’s starter Bartolo Colon allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. He didn’t strike out a batter in an outing of at least four innings for the first time in his 16 big league seasons. He issued just his second walk all year in 47 1-3 innings.
Yoenis Cespedes went 0 for 5 a night after he left before the fifth inning with a stomach bug that caused him to vomit twice in the dugout bathroom.
The A’s loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth against Rangers starter Derek Holland, who allowed consecutive singles to Smith and Freiman and walked No. 9 hitter Michael Taylor. Holland then induced a double play that brought home Smith, followed by Jed Lowrie’s RBI double.
Donaldson doubled leading off the sixth and Oakland tied the game at 3 on Montz’s sacrifice fly. Smith then singled to chase Holland, who appeared on track for a third straight win until running into trouble in the fourth and fifth.
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