It's only August, but the Rangers felt they were teetering on
the edge of yet another lost season after dropping the series
opener Monday and then blowing a four-run lead in a 7-6 loss
In the final series of a 10-game trip, they needed a
momentum-turning win -- and with 17 hits and seven dominant innings
from Vicente Padilla, the Rangers earned the biggest shutout
victory in Coliseum history. They also avoided a three-game sweep
that would have left them 7½ games behind the first-place A's in
the AL West.
"At 7½ back, I don't want to say you're done, but we'd have a
lot of work to do, and we've got to have other teams do some dirty
work for us," DeRosa said. "At 5½ back with 40-something games
left, we've still got a good chance."
Carlos Lee scored four runs and went 4-for-5 with his first
homer for Texas, while Rod Barajas and Gary Matthews Jr. also hit
solo homers to stop the A's six-game winning streak and the
Rangers' four-game losing skid.
"I think our guys were pretty focused on this game," Texas
manager Buck Showalter said. "We wanted to finish this road trip
strong and get home. ... We were real close to having a great road
trip, but we are where we are, and we still have a lot of contact
with where we want to get."
DeRosa, the light-hitting infielder with just 25 homers before
this season, went 4-for-5 with a career-high six RBI in his first
career multihomer game. He has been a veritable slugger recently,
with three homers in his last two games -- and his first career
grand slam last Friday in Los Angeles.
"It's nice to be able to explode like that," DeRosa said of
the Rangers' revival.
One night earlier, DeRosa struck out in the ninth inning -- and
his swing hit A's catcher Jason Kendall in the elbow, forcing
umpire Jim Joyce to make a game-ending interference call.
But DeRosa connected in the fifth against Zito (12-8), who gave
up four homers and 11 hits. DeRosa then added another three-run
drive off Brad Halsey in Texas' seven-run sixth inning -- and this
one glanced off a banner advertising the Oakland Raiders' upcoming
season high above the left-field fence.
"It's a sign from the heavens that I must select LaMont Jordan
first in my fantasy draft," DeRosa said with a grin, referring to
the Raiders' running back.
Bobby Kielty had three hits for the A's, who made three errors
and failed to get a runner to third base while losing for just the
second time in 11 games overall. It was their biggest margin of
defeat this season, surpassing a 15-2 loss to the Yankees on
Opening Day -- and their biggest home shutout loss in Oakland,
surpassing a 13-0 blanking by Seattle on July 2, 2003.
"I'd like to be able to wash that one away and go get them, and
hopefully that will happen," manager Ken Macha said. "We haven't
had a game like that in quite some time."
Padilla (12-7) cruised for the Rangers, allowing six hits -- all
singles -- and getting an embarrassment of run support to win for
the sixth time in eight starts.
Zito, who had won four of his previous five starts, never
retired the side in order and managed just two strikeouts. Though
he was 10-4 since mid-May, he has allowed 18 runs in his last four
"I was leaving balls over the middle," Zito said. "I just
couldn't get the ball down, and I wasn't finishing the changeup."
Texas already led 2-0 before sending 19 batters to the plate and
scoring 11 runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Matthews and Mark
Teixeira joined DeRosa with two hits apiece in those innings,
culminating in Jerry Hairston's two-run double.
While the Rangers relaxed, the A's got frustrated: Outfielder
Milton Bradley was ejected for the first time in more than two
years, a departure that followed a sixth-inning popout.
Lee hit the Rangers' first homer, connecting on a solo shot in
the first inning. He hit 28 homers for Milwaukee this season, but
hadn't connected since joining the Rangers in a trade on July 28.
Halsey, who was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento after
the game, allowed three hits, six runs and two walks while getting
just one out. ... After Matthews scored on Jay Payton's throwing
error to put Texas ahead 8-0, Showalter charged out of the dugout
to talk to the umpires, apparently arguing that Lee should have
been allowed to score as well. ... DeRosa was just 1-for-13 in his
career against Zito before this game. ... RHP Jay Witasick gave up
Hairston's two-run double in his first game back from the disabled
list after sitting out the previous seven weeks with tendinitis in
his left ankle.