ARLINGTON -- Cole Hamels' struggles continued on Friday night, but in the end it didn't matter, as a two-run walk-off single by Jonathan Lucroy in the ninth propelled the Rangers to their Major League-leading 45th comeback victory, 7-6, over the A's at Globe Life Park.
Carlos Beltran got the rally started with a one-out double, his second of the game, off A's closer Ryan Madson. Pinch-runner Delino DeShields immediately advanced to third on a wild pitch with Adrian Beltre at the plate. Beltre worked a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Joey Gallo. After Rougned Odor struck out and Gallo stole second, Lucroy delivered the winning hit just past the dive of third baseman Ryon Healy down the left-field line, snapping Oakland's four-game win streak.
With the victory, the Rangers improved to 34-10 (.773) in one-run games, putting them on pace to break the record set by the 2012 Orioles, who went 29-9 (.763).
"It's an amazing group of guys who have a desire to win," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That component, other teams could probably say that about their guys, but this is a group of guys who put it into action."
With the Mariners losing to the Astros, the Rangers' lead in the American League West increased to 9 1/2 games, and their magic number is now 6.
Hamels gave up six-plus runs for the third time in his last four starts. Two innings proved to be his undoing -- a three-run fourth and a three-run sixth. Both innings were highlighted by home runs, with Khris Davis hitting a two-run shot in the fourth and Brett Eibner adding a three-run homer in the sixth.
All three of Hamels' walks came in those innings, and he regained the AL lead in that category, with 75.
"The walks definitely hurt me again," Hamels said. "That's about four games where they've been the deciding factor of hampering what I was able to go out there and do. It's unacceptable by my part in a sense of what's expected and what I'm capable of doing."
The Rangers threatened with back-to-back two-run innings in the fifth and sixth off A's starter Kendall Graveman, who gave up four runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Carlos Gomez made it a one-run contest in the seventh with a solo shot to left that went a Statcast-estimated 401 feet. He's hit five home runs with the Rangers, matching his total in 85 games with the Astros.
"We've been swinging the bat well and expect to score some runs, especially the way we've been playing," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's just keeping these guys from scoring more than we do. I think it's one of the better lineups. You look at Boston and you look at them, as far as the depth of the lineup and with guys on the bench, too, they're as good as anyone in the league, especially with the additions they've made."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Homer-happy: Davis inched closer to the 40-homer mark in the fourth inning, sending his 38th home run of the season into the stands in right-center for a two-run shot that gave the A's an early 2-0 lead. Davis needs just two more in the club's final 15 games to become the first A's player to join the 40-homer club since Jason Giambi tallied 43 in 2000.
Gallo steal looms large: Gallo is known mostly for his prodigious power, but it was his speed that made the difference on Friday. After Beltre walked in the ninth, Gallo entered as a pinch-runner for him. With a 3-2 count on Odor, Gallo was off the pitch and successfully stole second as Odor struck out. The steal allowed Gallo to score with ease on Lucroy's walk-off single.
"I feel that those situations are still green-light situations for us," Banister said. "We've got to put ourselves in a position to score, and they've been valued bases for us. I believe we have some guys that can make good decisions in those moments and get good jumps."
Bullpen falters: An A's relief corps that proved extremely reliable during the club's four-game winning streak was responsible for three runs in the loss. Left-hander Sean Doolittle allowed one of Graveman's baserunners to score in the sixth inning, ahead of Gomez's seventh-inning leadoff shot off right-hander Ryan Dull. Even Liam Hendriks' eighth-inning appearance, though scoreless, didn't come without hiccups, as he had to escape a bases-loaded jam. For Madson, it was his third blown save against the Rangers this season.
"We haven't had anybody that's had an easy time with these guys," Melvin said. "You do the best you can. Our guys battled, they played hard, got a lead and kept it until two outs in the ninth."
"That's a good lineup." Graveman said. "You can compare them to Boston, one of the best lineups in the whole league. You hope to just limit the damage, because there's nowhere you can take a break in that lineup."
Deke attempt comes up short: Beltre got things going in the sixth for the Rangers with an RBI double to score Beltran and cut the Rangers' deficit to three with no outs. But a baserunning error by Beltre cut the rally a little short. Odor followed Beltre with a single, allowing him to move to third. Lucroy then hit a comebacker to Graveman, who caught Beltre a few steps too far off the bag. After a brief rundown, which included a deke attempt around catcher Stephen Vogt, Beltre was retired. The rundown allowed Odor to get to third, and he would score on a single by Mitch Moreland.
Slide costs a run: The Rangers looked to be in good position to score in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Ian Desmond hit a ground ball to Marcus Semien at short. Semien flipped to second baseman Joey Wendle, who did not even make a throw to first as Gomez slid a few feet past the bag and reached out for his leg. The umpires ruled that Gomez's slide into second was illegal, which resulted in Desmond being called out at first to end the inning with the Rangers held scoreless.
"Look, the story of the night is not Cole Hamels. The story is, he needed our offense, and they delivered for him." -- Banister, on Hamels
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Beltran's double in the ninth inning gave him 535 for his career, passing Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for No. 38 on the all-time list.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: Rookie right-hander Raul Alcantara makes his third big league start in Saturday's 5:05 p.m. PT matchup against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Alcantara endured a shaky debut but bounced back in his second go, giving the A's 5 2/3 innings with two runs allowed against the Mariners on Sunday.
Rangers:Yu Darvish will start the second game of the series at 7:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Darvish, who was originally scheduled to start Wednesday against the Astros, has recorded nine-plus strikeouts in six of his last nine starts; his 84 strikeouts since the All-Star break are fourth most in the AL.