OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — Michael Young rediscovered his power stroke and so did his teammates.
Young hit his first home run of the season, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli followed with back-to-back shots in the fourth, and the Texas Rangers pounded out 14 hits while beating the Oakland Athletics 11-2 on Saturday.
“I think we wanted to come in and have a better approach team-wise and we were able to do that today,” said Young, who had two hits to raise his average to .342. “Without getting into specifics, we wanted to break down our fundamentals, make sure we were attacking pitches in the zone, having a game plan when you go to the plate and staying with it.”
Texas did just that against Oakland starter Brett Anderson, who hadn’t allowed a home run in eight consecutive straights going back to 2010.
The Rangers took advantage of an uncharacteristically wild day by Anderson and hit three homers off the A’s ace before chasing him out of the game after five innings.
A day after getting 11 hits — all singles — Texas had five extra-base hits off five Oakland pitchers and finished with 14 hits overall, one shy of its season-high. Every starter except Mitch Moreland had at least one hit and seven players had at least one RBI.
“It was the type of day that we used to have,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Young’s homer was especially nice for the Rangers. His two-run shot in the third ended a power drought that extended back to last Sept. 25.
Before muscling up against Anderson, Young had managed to drive in 17 runs without a home run — the third-most by a player in the bigs since 1946.
That was enough to get Colby Lewis his first victory since April 2.
Lewis (2-3) allowed six hits with a season-high six strikeouts over eight innings. It was Lewis’ longest outing since a complete-game win over Houston last June 19.
“I felt more comfortable,” Lewis said. “These guys went out there and scored a lot of runs for me and I was able to get ahead of guys and throw strikes. I felt like I commanded the fastball today and that was the key.”
Kurt Suzuki and Josh Willingham homered for Oakland, which failed in its attempt to get above .500 for only the second time this season.
“It was perfect storm of everything bad,” said Anderson, whose four walks matched his season total. “My stuff was bad, command was bad, just a bad day. It was almost embarrassing or even comical how bad it was.”
Texas regained sole possession of first place in the AL West. The Rangers held it for a week until losing to the A’s on Friday and dropping into a tie with Anaheim. The Angels lost to Tampa Bay earlier Saturday, however, allowing the Rangers to move back on top of the division alone.
The Rangers tagged Anderson for an early run in the first, getting some help from Oakland’s shaky defense which entered the day second in the majors in errors.
Lewis, who appeared in 26 games for the A’s in 2007, relaxed after being staked to an early lead and cruised to the win. He retired 15 of the final 18 batters he faced following Willingham’s homer in the fourth and didn’t walk anyone until the eighth.
Brett Tomko pitched the ninth to complete the seven-hitter for Texas.
Suzuki’s homer on a 2-2 pitch from Lewis in the second tied the game. Suzuki’s solo shot, only his second home run of the season, came two days after the birth of the Oakland catcher’s first child.
Texas then chased Anderson with two runs in the third and four in the fifth when Cruz and Napoli hit their back-to-back homers. It’s the first time this season the Rangers hit consecutive home runs.
The A’s committed their AL-leading 25th error in the ninth, which led to three unearned runs.
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