OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Ian Kinsler hit a tying home run leading off the eighth and Josh Hamilton followed with another homer two batters later, lifting Texas to a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night and reducing the Rangers magic number to clinch the AL West to three.
Michael Young, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli added two hits apiece for Texas, which won its 90th game to match its win total of 2010.
The Rangers maintained their five-game leading over the Angels in the West with seven to go. They can clinch their second straight division title as early as Friday in Arlington when they host Seattle in the beginning of a three-game series.
Texas squandered numerous scoring opportunities and trailed 2-1 going in to the eighth before Kinsler and Hamilton powered the Rangers back.
Kinsler snapped the drought with his 30th home run of the season on a full-count pitch leading off the eighth against A’s reliever Grant Balfour (4-2). Kinsler became the first second baseman in American League history to have 30 home runs, 30 doubles, 100 runs scored and 80 walks in the same season.
Balfour retired Elvis Andrus on flyball before Hamilton connected for his 24th home run to right field. The ball landed halfway up the stairs at the Oakland Coliseum then bounced the rest of the way up.
Koji Uehara (2-3) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win, his first with the Rangers since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on July 30. Mike Adams worked the eighth and closer Neftali Feliz handled the ninth for his 29th save in 35 chances.
Jemile Weeks had two hits for the A’s, who announced the signing of manager Bob Melvin to a three-year contract before the game. Oakland has lost three straight to fall a season-low 17 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 4, 2009.
One of Melvin’s priorities next season will be trying to get the A’s to shake out of their funk against the first-place Rangers.
Texas has won 12 of the last 13 games against Oakland and is 13-4 against the A’s this season. The 13 wins matches the club’s season record for most victories against one team.
At least this time it was close.
The A’s managed to get the tying run on base in the ninth when Feliz walked Josh Willingham, but he retired the next three batters to end it.
Young singled and scored on a double-play grounder in the second inning to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Oakland, held hitless through the first three innings, tied it when Cliff Pennington doubled off starter C.J. Wilson in the fifth and scored on Brandon Allen’s two-out RBI single. Allen’s hit ended an 11-for-79 rut for the A’s first baseman.
After Michael Taylor walked, Weeks hit a sharp grounder just under the glove of diving Rangers third baseman Beltre to drive in Allen and put Oakland in front 2-1.
The Rangers struggled to get much else going against A’s starter Brandon McCarthy, stranding a runner at second in the fifth and at third in the sixth. Texas also put the two runners on with one out in the seventh before breaking through against Balfour in the next inning.
Neither starter factored in the decision in this one.
Wilson allowed five hits over six innings and became the first Texas left-hander to have 200 or more strikeouts in a single season. He fanned eight, walked three and has given up two earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts.
McCarthy, Oakland’s best pitcher over the last month, scattered six hits over seven innings and left with a 2-1 lead. He pitched out of jams with runners in scoring position three consecutive innings before Balfour relieved him and allowed two home runs to the first three batters he faced.
Andrus went hitless in four at-bats, ending his modest 13-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Oakland is 4-5 on its final homestand with Thursday’s series-finale against Texas remaining. The A’s fell to 18-25 in one-run games this season. … The last Rangers pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in one season was Nolan Ryan, who had 203 in 1991. … Rangers INF Esteban German, who returned to the Dominican Republic following the passing of his mother, is expected to rejoin the Rangers this weekend. … A’s RHP Trevor Cahill (11-14), who has the second-highest ERA in the majors since the All-Star break, pitches for Oakland on Thursday and will go for his fourth win against Texas this year. … RHP Colby Lewis (13-10), who spent 2007 with the A’s, chases his third straight win for the Rangers.
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