OAKLAND (AP) — David Murphy hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Sunday for a three-game series sweep.
Mitch Moreland hit a sacrifice fly, Michael Young and Mike Napoli each drew bases-loaded walks against former Ranger Rich Harden and first-place Texas extended its winning streak in the rivalry to eight games. The Rangers (69-52) also moved a season-best 17 games over .500.
Mike Adams (1-1) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the victory, then Neftali Feliz finished for his 23rd save in 29 chances as Texas won its fourth straight road game heading into a key four-game series with the Angels in Anaheim.
Andrew Bailey (0-3) issued a one-out walk to Moreland in the ninth. Craig Gentry came in to run for Moreland and stole second to put himself in good position on Murphy’s single to center.
This marks the A’s longest skid against the Rangers since dropping nine in a row from June 19-Sept. 30, 1986. Texas outscored Oakland 23-8 in the series.
Hideki Matsui hit a tying RBI single in the sixth after he was brushed back twice by reliever Darren Oliver, once even going to the ground to get out of the way.
A day after the A’s committed four errors, they had another blunder. Right fielder David DeJesus dropped a routine fly ball by Ian Kinsler in the fifth, allowing two runs to score.
In the bottom half, Kinsler misplayed a bouncing grounder to second that went under his glove and brought home Oakland’s first two runs.
This game had a little bit of everything: an Oakland comeback, a hit batter, the two defensive mistakes and a balk. Texas starter Matt Harrison even turned his attention for a brief moment to the folkloric dancers who performed on “Fiesta Day” right behind home plate as he warmed up in the middle of the sixth.
Harrison was done that inning. He allowed Scott Sizemore’s leadoff double, an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki one out later and then Brandon Allen’s RBI double. No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington walked and Rangers manager Ron Washington turned to Oliver.
Late lineup addition and newcomer Allen provided the highlights for Oakland.
Allen singled leading off the third for his first hit since joining the A’s, then produced another base hit to start the fifth. He also doubled in the sixth.
Allen, acquired in last month’s trade with Arizona that sent reliever Brad Ziegler to the Diamondbacks, was called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday.
Harrison received a mound visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux after loading the bases with one out in the third. He calmly got out of it unscathed, retiring Matsui on a flyout and cleanup hitter Josh Willingham on a swinging strikeout.
Harden fell behind right away against his former team. He hit leadoff man Kinsler with a pitch, then got Elvis Andrus on a flyout before four straight Rangers reached base. Texas’ first run scored on a wild pitch, then Napoli drew a bases-loaded walk and Moreland added his sacrifice fly.
Harden walked in another run in the fourth when Young drew a free pass. Harden wound up with a season-high five walks over four innings. The right-hander hadn’t issued five walks since last Aug. 23 while with Texas.
The reigning AL champion Rangers released Harden after the 2010 regular season, in which he struggled with injuries and control. Harden received a $1.5 million, one-year contract in December to rejoin Oakland, his original team.
NOTES: Rangers DH Yorvit Torrealba extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff single in the fourth. Young’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. … Oakland scratched 1B Conor Jackson from the lineup because of neck tightness. Allen took his place. … A’s CF Coco Crisp returned to the lineup after missing six games with a strained right calf. … Texas has won 17 of 21 vs. the AL West since May 15. … LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-10) pitches Monday’s series opener for the A’s against Baltimore trying to end a four-start losing streak. Gonzalez is 0-5 with a 5.82 ERA in six starts against AL East clubs this year. … RHP Alexi Ogando (11-5) takes the ball in Texas’ opener with the Angels. Ogando, 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA lifetime vs. Los Angeles, looks to take over the team lead in victories.
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