Texas tops A's to increase AL West lead to two

Texas tops A's to increase AL West lead to two

OAKLAND -- The Rangers rallied from three runs down to defeat the Athletics, 8-6, on Tuesday night at the Coliseum. Mitch Moreland's two-run home run off Athletics starter Sean Nolin was the big blow on a night when the Rangers took advantage of the Astros' loss to the Angels and increased their lead to two games in the American League West.

"Every time they lose it's a good feeling," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "Whenever the guys behind you lose, it makes it easier. But we still have 12 left to play. We have to take care of ourselves and not look at what they are doing."

The Rangers are three games up in the loss column with 12 flet to play and their magic numbers is now 10 to clinch the division.

Chi Chi Gonzalez, making his second Major League relief appearance, earned the win with two scoreless innings after taking over for starter Martin Perez.

Gonzalez minimizes damage in pressure spot

"You can say this, this was a complete team win for us," manager Jeff Banister said. "Hit and run, sacrifice flies, sacrifice bunts, some terrific baserunning, it was all huge for us."

Athletics reliever Drew Pomeranz took the loss behind Nolin, who went five-plus innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts. The Athletics have lost 25 of their last 38 games.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moreland strikes against lefties: Moreland was 3-for-3 off of Nolin, including his two-run home run with no outs in the top of the sixth. Moreland entered the game with just two hits in his last 25 at-bats off left-handers. This was his first time ever facing Nolin.

Moreland's two-run homer

Rangers offense makes sacrifice:. Moreland's home run was crucial, but the Rangers had a nice night of offensive execution. They tied a club record with four sacrifice flies, they were credited with three sacrifice hits and a hit-and-run single by Delino DeShields was instrumental in a two-run fifth. DeShields also had two of the four sacrifice flies.

"It was something we needed, guys on third, less than two outs, those are supposed to be easy runs," DeShields said. "It's Baseball 101, something we have been up and down with all year so it was good to execute in this game like that."

DeShields' second sac fly

Plead the sixth: Having already seen their lead trimmed to one in the fifth, the A's allowed the Rangers to go ahead in the sixth with three more runs -- the decisive run being of the unearned variety. Following Moreland's two-run homer, Andrus reached base on a grounder off the foot of Pomeranz. Then first baseman Mark Canha bobbled Rougned Odor's ensuing bunt, putting runners at first and second with none out. Chris Gimenez moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for DeShields' go-ahead sacrifice fly later in the inning.

"It wasn't the best-played game in the world," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "At times we had good at-bats, at times we didn't. At times we made some good defensive plays, other times we didn't. So it was not a real consistent game."

Triple threat: The A's erased Texas' early one-run lead on back-to-back RBI triples from former Ranger Jake Smolinski and Marcus Semien, giving them 40 on the season to tie an Oakland record set in 1968. Each of Smolinski's seven hits dating back to Sept. 14 have been for extra bases.

Smolinksi's RBI triple

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Right-hander Colby Lewis pitches against the Athletics at 9:05 p.m. CT Wednesday in Oakland. Lewis threw a two-hit shutout vs. the Athletics earlier this month and is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts against them this season.

A's: The A's will send left-hander Felix Doubront to the mound Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. PT for a start against the Rangers in the middle matchup of a three-game set at the Coliseum. Doubront was the losing pitcher in his only start against the Rangers this year, a seven-run, 4 1/3-inning outing Sept. 13 in Texas.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.