Claudio's relief sweet for hang-tough Rangers

Lefty tosses 4 shutout innings, setting up Texas' late rally

Claudio's relief sweet for hang-tough Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Ian Desmond, who scored the winning run, almost refused to talk about all the wild things that happened in the 10th inning of the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Athletics on Tuesday night.

All he wanted to do was talk about reliever Alex Claudio, who threw four scoreless innings after being pressed into service in the third because of the injury to starter Lucas Harrell.

"Alex Claudio continues to do an unbelievable job for all of us," Desmond said. "When Alex came in and did the job he did, we felt we were in the game. So many great things happened in that game because of what Claudio did."

Maybe that's why manager Jeff Banister called him the most valuable player of the game.

"If he doesn't do that, there is no way we win that game," Banister said after the Rangers' 38th come-from-behind win, the most in the Major Leagues.

The Rangers won it even after they lost it, letting a 2-1 lead slip away in the ninth against closer Sam Dyson and seeing the Athletics score two in the 10th against reliever Keone Kela to take a 4-2 lead.

But as the Rangers walked off the field after the A's went ahead, Banister saw no deflation in his players as they prepared to hit.

"None whatsoever," Banister said. "You would think these guys would at some point, but I don't think it's in their DNA or culture. They continue to grind and believe in what they do. We had a set of hitters coming up and some options. It was a huge challenge, down two, but no deflation whatsoever."

The Rangers were helped by the fact that veteran reliever John Axford couldn't throw strikes. Well, he did strike out Nomar Mazara to start the inning, but then issued three straight walks to Robinson Chirinos, pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy and Desmond to load the bases.

Carlos Beltran, swinging at the first pitch, lined a breaking ball to center for a two-run single to tie the game.

Beltran's big offensive game

"I faced him a lot of times in the National League, and he would throw me a get-it-over curveball," Beltran said. "I was looking for something soft and thank God I was able to shoot it down the middle."

Beltran had the Rangers' only two hits with runners in scoring position. He matched a career high with four hits, and it's the 15th time in his career he has either tied or put his team ahead with a hit in extra innings.

"No panic," Banister said. "He has been in baseball a long time and has seen thousands of pitches."

Desmond stopped at second and Oakland manager Bob Melvin brought in left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to face Adrian Beltre. But Melvin elected to intentionally walk Beltre to load the bases. Melvin preferred Rzepcyznski to face Rougned Odor and Mitch Moreland, a pair of left-handed hitters, even with the bases loaded.

"It's never an easy decision to do something unorthodox like that, but I couldn't watch that guy beat us again, especially against a left-handed pitcher," Melvin said. "With two lefties coming up, I thought my best shot was to play in and try to get a ground ball to force it."

But Rzepcyznski hit Odor with the first pitch and the game was over.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.