Rapid Reaction: Athletics 4, Rangers 2
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers suffered a 4-2 loss Monday afternoon to the Oakland A's in the opener of a three-game series and fell into a first-place tie with the A's in the American League West. With 25 games left to play, the A's and Rangers are deadlocked at 79-58.
Rough outing: Rangers left-hander Derek Holland lasted only 4⅔ innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits, two of them home runs. A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes launched a solo homer to left center in the second inning, and Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer in the fifth, his career-high 17th.
Early hole: Holland dug himself an early hole by giving up two runs in the second. Leading off, Cespedes sent Holland's 95 mph fastball over the fence for his 21st home run of the season. Cespedes entered the game with only two hits in 11 at-bats against Holland, but both of them were home runs. Holland had allowed only 14 homers all season before Cespedes' blast. The A's made it 2-0 when Alberto Callaspo doubled to left and scored on Chris Young's single to center. The ball got past center fielder Leonys Martin, and Young raced to third and headed home but was nailed at the plate on a relay from Martin to shortstop Jurickson Profar to catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Murphy ends drought: Left fielder David Murphy pulled the Rangers even at two with a two-run blast in the top of the fifth inning to end his 23-game homerless streak. It was his first home run since Aug. 1. With one out and Mitch Moreland on first via a walk, Murphy sent right-hander Dan Straily's 2-2 pitch high and deep over the 400-foot mark on the center-field fence. Murphy came into the game on a 6-for-36 (.167) skid.
After further review: With no outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the sixth, Crisp homered down the left-field line, hitting the foul pole just above the short fence. Rangers manager Ron Washington immediately asked for and was granted a video review, but the call stood, and the A's took a 4-2 lead. Crisp homered for the third straight game and has seven homers in his past 12 games. He left the game in the sixth shortly after fouling a pitch off his right shin. The A's are calling it a right shin contusion.
Berkman's return: Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman, who was activated from the disabled list Sunday, made his first appearance since July 6 against the Houston Astros and went 0-for-4. Berkman had a chance to do some damage in his first at-bat against Straily in the second inning. After Alex Rios roped a two-out double and Moreland walked, Berkman worked a 3-2 count, but Straily struck him out on a fastball. Berkman flew out with a runner on first and no outs in the fifth. In the sixth against right-hander Dan Otero, he lined out to right field with one out and the bases loaded. Then, with two on and two outs in the eighth, he sent a Ryan Cook offering to deep right center, but Young tracked it down for the third out. As a team, the Rangers left 11 runners on base.
Rally fizzles: Murphy led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off A's closer Grant Balfour and moved to second on Martin's single to left. Both runners advanced when Profar grounded out to first. But Ian Kinsler flew out to right, and Adrian Beltre grounded out to third.
Rios locked in: Rios doubled to right in the second inning at-bat and finished the game with three hits in four at-bats. He's hitting .278.
Add three: During the game, the Rangers announced that they would promote three more players from Triple-A Round Rock, effective Tuesday: right-hander Ross Wolf and outfielders Engel Beltre and Joey Butler.
Hometown kid: A's outfielder Michael Choice, a product of Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, and the University of Texas-Arlington, made his major league debut Monday at designated hitter against the Rangers. Choice, the No. 10 overall pick in the June 2010 draft, was promoted Sunday from Triple-A Sacramento, after he hit .302 with 14 home runs and 89 RBIs in 132 games this season. On Monday, Choice went 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run.
Up next: Rangers left-hander Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58 ERA) will face A's righty Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94) on Tuesday night in the second of this three-game series. First pitch is at 9:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540 AM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.