ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre hit a walk-off two-run home run against A's closer Ryan Madson in the ninth inning Monday evening, sending the Rangers to a thrilling 7-6 series-opening victory at Globe Life Park.
It was the second homer of the night for Beltre, who lined the first pitch he saw from Madson into the left-center field seats with two outs to bring home pinch-runner Ryan Rua following Nomar Mazara's one-out single. Beltre, who owns nine career walk-off home runs, also homered in the seventh agaisnt John Axford to cut Oakland's lead to one run.
"What superlatives do you want me to put on it? You can use them all," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Beltre's night. "This is a guy who leads this ball club on the field. It's what he does. You can see it on his face, he knows what's at stake. Two special at-bats tonight, none bigger than the last one."
The blast spoiled a three-RBI night from Oakland's Danny Valencia, who launched a two-run homer and also collected one of four A's doubles counted off in a three-run third inning against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez..
"I felt like we were in control the whole game," A's shortstop Marcus Semien said. "When we come out hot early we do well, and we did. Adrian just had a great game tonight. He comes up with two homers and keeps them in the game. Those are tough, but we've done it to other teams too."
Oakland starter Daniel Mengden lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, including a solo home run by Ian Desmond in the first, his 19th of the year. Bobby Wilson tagged Mengden for an RBI double in the fourth, and Rougned Odor added a two-run single in the fifth. The A's got their last run in the seventh, on Josh Reddick's RBI base hit.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Flirting with disaster: After blowing two games ahead of the All-Star break, Madson returned with an improved fastball that had him rounding back into form of late. But Madson's overconfidence in the pitch perhaps hurt him when Beltre stepped to the plate in the ninth, as he was admittedly more focused on beating him with the pitch than spotting it, resulting in one he grooved right into Beltre's wheelhouse.
"I know he's a good first-pitch fastball guy," Madson said. "I got maybe a little bold-headed and tried to beat him instead of putting it in a good spot. I was feeling good with the heater I've had the last few weeks, so I had confidence in it. Just ended up being middle-middle, and to a fastball guy, first pitch, that's not where I was aiming." More >
A's capitalize on Rangers errors: Three of the Oakland's six runs were unearned thanks to two costly errors from the Rangers. Elvis Andrus' throwing error following what looked like an inning-ending ground ball from Reddick in the first allowed Valencia to come to the plate and deliver a two-run home run. Then in the seventh, A's catcher Matt McBride led off the inning with a single that was bobbled by Delino DeShields in left field, which allowed McBride to stroll into second. Reddick made that error hurt three batters later when he looped a single into right field to drive in McBride.
"We had some careless mistakes tonight that cost us, put us underneath. A situation where we got to handle the baseball," Banister said. "We can't allow clubs extra at-bats, extra chances. We make a play in the first [inning] and we're off the field."
Double down: The A's spanked four doubles off of Perez in the third, including three in a row with two outs that resulted in as many runs. In a lineup stacked with right-handed batters, leadoff man Jed Lowrie initiated the doubles parade for his second hit of the night. Lowrie was nearly stranded at second, after Perez retired each of his next two batters, but Valencia came through yet again in a two-out situation with an RBI double. Khris Davis and Billy Butler followed suit.
Beltre passes Piazza on career home run list: Before Beltre won the game for the Rangers, his solo shot to right field in the seventh placed him alone at No. 47 on the all-time home run list with 428, passing Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. He also broke up a tie he had with Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Next up on the list is another Hall of Famer in Cal Ripken Jr., who had 431 career homers. "It's incredible. He never stops impressing anybody, or any of us in what he can do, and what he does for us," Banister said. More >
"We're all sad because we all love Prince ... He's a great guy. It's sad. But we all know we have to step up and be more consistent. Hopefully the offense will score more runs. We know we have a good team, we can win right now." -- Beltre on Prince Fielder, who is expected to have season-ending neck surgery in the next few weeks
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Perez picked up his 15th consecutive quality start at Globe Life Park, tying the club record of consecutive quality starts at home set by Jon Matlack in 1978. He allowed five runs through six innings, but just three were earned.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Right-hander Sonny Gray, who endured his fourth seven-run outing of the season on Thursday, looks to rebound in a road start against the Rangers on Tuesday. The middle matchup of a three-game set in Arlington is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. PT.
Rangers:Nick Martinez will be called up from Triple-A Round Rock to get the start against the A's at 7:05 p.m. CT Tuesday at Globe Life Park. He has a 6.45 ERA through 22 2/3 innings in two stints with the Rangers this year.