"It felt like a shotgun went off at the end of my finger," Cook said. "I just had to wait for the pain to go away."
He induced a leadoff ground ball by Michael Young directly at Josh Donaldson, who watched it go right under his legs, allowing Young to reach second. Adrian Beltre's ensuing grounder to first base moved Young to third, and Cook intentionally walked two of the next three batters to load the bases for Brandon Snyder.
But, with two outs, Cook got Snyder to ground out, saving Donaldson from claiming responsibility for a Rangers win just one day after he also misjudged a Craig Gentry ground ball that helped Texas plate two runs in Wednesday's loss.
In doing so, the right-hander extended his scoreless streak to 19 2/3 innings, allowing his teammates to later add some runs to secure his first Major League victory.
"The first win really doesn't mean as much to me," Cook said. "Getting this win does, in terms of the meaning of the game. It was a fun way to get it, I guess, huh?
"Really, in that situation, the only goal was to figure out a way for nobody to score. That's really all I was thinking. It worked out."
"For popping his nail and feeling a little something there for a bit, you gotta put that away," manager Bob Melvin said. "He had to deal with the pain, and he did what he's done for us all year. It seems like he's got five [wins] the way he's pitched."
Melvin wasn't even around to see Cook, though. He had been tossed in the sixth inning on a play that, at the time, appeared to cost his team the game.
With runners on the corners in a 3-3 contest, Elvis Andrus hit a popup bunt toward the mound, and pitcher Brandon McCarthy dove for the ball, with replays showing he got a glove under it. But home-plate umpire Laz Diaz ruled it a trap, and Gentry easily scored from third to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
A furious McCarthy, who even threw to third base after snagging the ball for what he thought could be a potential double play, argued with Diaz, before Melvin eased him aside and began his own discussion with the umpire.
The two went back and forth for more than a minute, before Diaz tossed him -- marking the first ejection of the season for Melvin.
"The glove was underneath it," Melvin said. "That's what I saw. I just wanted him to get some help, because I thought he had missed the call. He would not get help."
"Once the disbelief went away, then the fury kind of set in," said McCarthy, who allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings. "I don't mind bad calls. I know they happen, and certainly balls and strikes are tough, and sometimes they're bang-bang plays. But there are certain leverage points like that, where the Rangers offense has two outs with two runners on. There are just a lot of things that fall on that one."
Josh Reddick tied things back up in the seventh against Alexi Ogando with his 10th home run of the season, becoming the first A's player with 10 home runs before the end of May since 2006 (Nick Swisher 16, Eric Chavez 12, Frank Thomas 11). That's when the fun began.
"I thought it was terrific," Melvin said. "We've struggled a little bit here. We lose a game here [on Wednesday] when we didn't play great, and we come back and deal with some adversity and such and get some big hits, and everyone contributes -- from the starter, the bullpen, guys off the bench ... a great team win. This was as much of a team win as you're going to see."
The win, which included a three-run first courtesy of back-to-back doubles off the bats of Jonny Gomes and Kurt Suzuki off Texas starter Matt Harrison, snapped a two-game losing streak for the A's, who had also lost 13 of their previous 15 to Texas.
"They're a scrappy team," Harrison said.
"It's just impressive, especially against a team like that where things could go all wrong," McCarthy said. "That's a game last year that we don't win. ... This year, the fact we end up winning, that is really encouraging. We're mentally tougher, much more solid as a group than last year. There's a belief in the team right now, and keeping that up over the course of the season is going to be important."