By Jane Lee and Dave Sessions
MLB.com |@JaneMLB |
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre hit two tape-measure home runs and drove in five runs to pace a powerful Rangers' offense in their 12-4 victory over the A's on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers hit a season-high-tying four homers and stayed within 1 1/2 games of the Astros in the American League West on the eve of the rivals' crucial four-game series at Globe Life Park.
Beltre and Prince Fielder both went 2-for-5 at the third and fourth spots, helping the Rangers rev up the offense after a weaker showing the night before.
"Those are the two big boys in the heart of our lineup that we depend on -- they showed up well today, both of them," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "Adrian with the home runs and Prince with the solid contact and the hustle down the line. We go as they go a lot of time. They carry the load for the biggest part of the year, we try to help them out along the way, but to get them going today, we needed to see that."
Both Beltre blasts came off Oakland starter Felix Doubront in back-to-back innings. In the fourth, Shin-Soo Choo singled and Beltre crushed a 436-foot homer to the back of the visitors' bullpen in left-center field. In the fifth, Chris Gimenez led off with a single, Choo walked and Beltre put one in the other bullpen 407 feet away in right-center. Rougned Odor added a three-run homer in the eighth to put the game away. More >
Rangers rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez, making a spot start so Cole Hamels can face Houston on Monday, held the A's in check for 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Gonzalez allowed three runs in the sixth, but only one was earned. Doubront surrendered seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Choo gets Rangers going: Choo was the first Ranger to go deep off Doubront, lifting a 423-foot solo shot to straightaway center in the first. Choo reached base four times and went 3-for-4; he has reached safely in 12 straight games and 33 of his past 34. He also extended his home hitting streak to 14 games, the longest by a Ranger this season.
"Since the All-Star break, he's been about as hot a hitter as there is," Banister said. "The on-base percentage, you see it, well over .400, terrific to see. We knew that it was a matter of time before he'd get going, and he's been going and kept going."
Choo was lifted before the ninth with neck stiffness, but Banister did not elaborate on his condition.
Blair's blast: Oakland rookie catcher Carson Blair, making just his second start, collected his first Major League hit in the seventh, homering into the A's bullpen where teammate Sean Doolittle snagged the keepsake ball. Blair, selected from Triple-A Nashville on Sept. 1, was hitless in his previous five at-bats with two walks.
"To be honest, when I hit it and got to first it felt like every one I've hit in the Minor Leagues, and then I got to second base and realized, 'Oh, that's kind of cool. That's pretty special,'" Blair said. "Especially to do it at home, where I grew up, watching Rangers games, that's probably the coolest part about it." More >
Rally killers: Oakland trailed, 8-0, after five innings but chipped away with three runs in the sixth, ending Gonzalez's outing. The A's might have done more damage, but Keone Kela took over for Gonzalez and struck out two of the three he faced to get out of the inning. In the eighth, Sam Dyson walked the first two, but Jake Diekman came in and struck out three of the next four A's.
"I can't wait ... Growing up in the Houston area, the idea of having the two baseball teams in this state go head-to-head this late in the year for the magnitude of what it can mean on the season -- for me, it's special. I'm proud of it, I really am, for what we have done, for where [the Astros] have come from, to have the eyes of baseball on us." -- Banister, on the upcoming series with the Astros
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Beltre broke a tie with Fielder on the list of active players with multihomer games. Beltre is alone in ninth with 27. Alex Rodriguez leads all active players with 62.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's will continue their road trip in Chicago, where right-hander Sonny Gray will take the mound in Monday's 5:10 p.m. PT opener of a four-game set against the White Sox. Gray is 13-7 with a 2.28 ERA, which ranks second in the American League and fifth in the Majors.
Rangers: A four-game series with huge playoff implications begins Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT when the Rangers host the Astros. Hamels will oppose Houston's Scott Kazmir.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.