Final Score: Oakland 4, Texas 2
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - The Athletics and Texas Rangers once again sit
atop the AL West standings together after Oakland held on for a 4-2 win Monday
in the opener of a critical three-game series at O.co Coliseum.
Coco Crisp belted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth inning and Yoenis
Cespedes added a solo blast for the A's, who have won seven of their last
eight to pull even with the Rangers.
Grant Balfour put the tying run on second base in the ninth but escaped with
his 36th save after getting Ian Kinsler on a fly out to right and Adrian
Beltre on a groundout to third.
"I'm enjoying the (pennant) race...as long as we finish on top," Balfour said.
Four Oakland relievers combined for four scoreless innings after Dan Straily
(8-7) allowed two runs on three hits and three walks in the first five frames.
Texas has dropped three of four and couldn't get much going offensively
outside of David Murphy's two-run homer. The club went 0-for-9 with runners in
scoring position and left 11 on base.
"We gave ourselves opportunities...we just didn't take advantage," Rangers
manager Ron Washington said.
Derek Holland (9-7) was touched for four runs -- three earned -- on five hits
and five walks in just 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time since June 6 the
left-hander failed to work through the sixth -- a span of 14 starts.
Cespedes got the scoring started in the second inning when he crushed a 2-2
fastball over the wall in left-center for his 21st home run of the season.
Alberto Callaspo doubled two batters later and scored on Chris Young's base
hit to center field. Young never stopped running when his single skipped by
Leonys Martin, but the combination of his stutter step around third base and a
textbook relay resulted in Young getting thrown out at the plate.
Murphy tied it in the fifth with a towering shot to straightaway center, and
Crisp responded in the bottom half with his own two-run blast. Crisp's drive
down the left-field line nicked the left side of foul pole just above the
wall, and a replay review confirmed the leadoff hitter's seventh home run in
his last 12 games.
Dan Otero relieved Straily to start the sixth and put himself in a bases-
loaded, one-out jam he managed to escape. Beltre failed to tag up on Lance
Berkman's sharp line drive to right field, and Murphy grounded out to second
to leave the bags full.
Brett Anderson, in his second relief appearance since being activated from the
disabled list, tossed 1 1/3 scoreless frames, and Ryan Cook stranded a pair in
the eighth when Young made a running catch on Berkman's line drive to right-
Oakland last held a share of first place on Aug. 9 ... Crisp set a career-high
with his 17th home run of the season ... Michael Choice made his big-league
debut for the A's and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored as their
designated hitter ... Holland suffered his first loss since July 25 and failed
in his fifth attempt to join Kenny Rogers as the only Texas lefties with three
consecutive 10-win seasons ... The Rangers have allowed five runs or less in
30 consecutive games, the major's sixth longest streak in one season since
1961 ... Texas had won 11 straight in AL West parks.
09/02 23:39:14 ET
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