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Rangers pull out bullpen stops to keep A's waiting

Rangers pull out bullpen stops to keep A's waiting

By Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 27, 2014 at 11:20 p.m.


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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — One after the other, Texas relievers came out of the bullpen to try to keep the Oakland Athletics from clinching their third straight trip to the playoffs.

Interim Rangers manager Tim Bogar's plan worked.

Rookie Jake Smolinski and Robinson Chirinos homered, Scott Baker and seven relievers filled in for Derek Holland when the left-hander couldn't go because of a migraine headache and the Rangers beat the A's 5-4 Saturday night.

"I was hoping that it wouldn't have to be that way," Bogar said of his frequent trips to the mound. "But that team over there, they always keep it close. Bottom line was, one pitcher, eight pitchers, it all works."

Oakland's lead over Seattle was cut to one game when the Mariners later beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 in 11 innings.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday.

"These things are tough," A's manager Bob Melvin said in an office near the clubhouse while the Mariners and Angels were still playing. "It takes a while to digest these things, and you move on to whatever the next scenario is."

The A's have the second-worst record in the majors since they were 11 games up in the wild-card race and four games ahead of the AL West-winning Angels on Aug. 10. They've lost eight of their last 12.

This time, they lost with trade deadline pickup Jeff Samardzija (5-6) facing spot starter Scott Baker after Holland was a late scratch.

The Rangers beat the A's for the fifth time in six games since last week. Spencer Patton (1-0), the fourth reliever, got his first major league win and Neftali Feliz earned his 13th save in Texas' 13th victory in 15 games.

"You can see how everybody's putting everything in the game," said Chirinos, who threw out pinch-runner Billy Burns trying to steal for the second out in the ninth inning. "See everybody focused and trying to win games."

Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick had three hits apiece for Oakland, including singles in a two-run eighth that ended with Alberto Callaspo's fly ball that was caught by Smolinski at the wall in right field with two runners on base.

"We can't get the one hit that we need for, to go to the playoffs," Reddick said. "It's very frustrating."

Donaldson, who couldn't run anywhere close to full speed because of a knee injury sustained a night earlier, homered to left for a 1-0 lead in the first, made a diving play for an out on a sharp grounder in the second and beat out an infield single in the sixth.

Baker, who hadn't pitched since Sept. 5 after dealing with soreness in his right arm, was pulled in the fifth inning. Left-handers Alex Claudio and Michael Kirkman got both of their outs on double plays against the first hitters they faced. Patton recorded all three outs in the seventh.

Samardzija had gone 23 straight innings without allowing an earned run when the Rangers got two in the first on consecutive RBI singles from Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre. Smolinski made it 3-1 with his third home run of the season, a shot to left field in the fourth.

Chirinos' 13th homer was a two-run shot that put Texas ahead 5-2 in the seventh.

MILESTONE FOR DUNN

Holland's headache put big Oakland designated hitter Adam Dunn in the lineup for his 2,000th game. The active leader in games played without a trip to the postseason singled and struck out twice before Jonny Gomes pinch-hit for him in the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Donaldson, who injured his left knee making a back-handed stop at third base on Friday, said he was reassured by the Rangers' medical staff that he didn't have any structural damage.

Rangers: Holland was not ruled out as the starter in Sunday's season finale after he was scratched. Bogar said his recovery and whether Oakland's playoff fate is still on the line will factor into whether Holland starts.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (13-10, 3.23) is 0-3 in five September starts and has just one win since Aug. 1. He's a loss away from matching the career-high four-game losing streak he had last month.

Rangers: Nick Martinez (5-11, 4.61) has a 2.12 ERA in his past five starts. He beat Houston on Tuesday for his first career home victory in his ninth start in Arlington. Martinez also beat Gray to complete a series sweep in Oakland last week.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Schuyler Dixon

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