OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Ron Washington watched his old team make repeated, uncharacteristic mistakes and his current club take advantage each time.
Milton Bradley had three hits with a double and run scored against his former team, and the Texas Rangers capitalized on four errors by the Oakland Athletics in a 4-3 victory Friday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season."It's the first one," Washington said of three wins in a row. "What we have to do is go out and continue to play good baseball. It could be more than three."Michael Young and Brandon Boggs each had sacrifice flies and Ian Kinsler added an RBI groundout to help Vicente Padilla (4-2) win his second straight start, after pitching a seven-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.Texas beat Joe Blanton (2-5) and sent the Oakland opening day starter to 0-5 at home this year -- the most home losses by a pitcher in the majors. Blanton lost to the Rangers for the first time since his rookie season of 2005, snapping a six-game winning streak against them.Washington returned to the Bay Area, where he served as Oakland's beloved third-base coach for 11 seasons before joining Texas. It's been a tough few weeks with speculation about his job security."It's always nice to come back," he said. "It's just like anything else, the game of baseball is a tough business. No matter what flares up, you hold your head up and stay strong -- and that's me. I spent 11 years here and never got anything but love."Jack Cust homered and Bobby Crosby hit a two-run double in the fourth that gave Oakland a brief lead, but the A's were too sloppy and missed key chances.Padilla struck out a season-high six and walked four in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs -- only one earned -- on five hits.Padilla left after loading the bases in the sixth. Frank Thomas hit a leadoff single, Crosby came up with a two-out double and Ryan Sweeney walked. Jamey Wright entered and got Donnie Murphy to ground out, preserving the Rangers' 4-3 lead."Of course it's something we can build on," Padilla said of his team's recent success.Eddie Guardado pitched one scoreless inning, Joaquin Benoit escaped an eighth-inning jam and C.J. Wilson finished with a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.The A's dropped two balls for errors in the first, one by right fielder Emil Brown and another by backup catcher Rob Bowen. Brown's three-base error on leadoff hitter Kinsler's flyball was followed by a sacrifice fly from Young for a 1-0 lead.First baseman Daric Barton and Blanton each committed throwing errors."It was just a poor night for us all the way around," A's manager Bob Geren said, calling it his team's worst performance of the year. "Joe deserved a little better fate."Washington was surprised to see the miscues by some of the very Oakland players he used to coach, saying three of the plays "shouldn't even have been tried."With one out in the seventh, Barton took off running from first when Cust hit a deep fly to center. Josh Hamilton made a great catch at the wall and the Rangers got Barton for an inning-ending double play."As a pitcher, when you make a catch like that late in the game, it pumps you up," Guardado said. "No doubt in my mind he's something special."The game featured the two worst fielding teams in the American League, Texas at the bottom with 31 errors and the A's with 27.Blanton was upset that he couldn't keep the lead after the A's went ahead 3-2 in the fourth. The right-hander matched his season low with only one strikeout."The offense does a nice job of coming back and scoring three runs to get you the lead, then I go out and give up two runs," Blanton said. "It's pretty tough to swallow."Oakland began a stretch in which it will play nine of its next 27 games against Texas, which has won the last two season series.
Thomas got his old 2006 A's locker back after Alan Embree was polite enough to switch. "I've got to do something for Embree," the Big Hurt said. ... Texas RF Marlon Byrd (inflamed left knee) could head on a rehab assignment sometime this weekend. ... A's OF Travis Buck, on the DL with shin splints, is scheduled to play in a rehab game Saturday for Triple-A Sacramento. ... Oakland RHP Keith Foulke was expected to join the team Saturday before pitching for Sacramento on Sunday and Tuesday in his recovery from neck stiffness. He threw Friday at extended spring training in Arizona. ... The Rangers' Dustin Nippert (foot injury) struck out five in five innings and allowed two hits in a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma.