ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS / AP) — Mistakes have come at the worst possible time for the Oakland Athletics in the last few games against the Texas Rangers.
One night after the bullpen blew a late lead, Oakland’s defense came apart behind starter Tommy Milone.
Josh Hamilton hit a three-run home run to cap a big fifth inning and the Rangers extended their winning streak to five games, beating the A’s 7-2 on Saturday night.
Oakland committed two errors that led to five unearned runs in the game-deciding fifth.
“They’re a good team no matter what,” Oakland third baseman Brandon Inge said. “You make mistakes against this team and it’s going to be hard to stay with them.”
Oakland reliever Grant Balfour walked three batters in the eighth inning Friday night as Texas rallied from a two-run deficit to win 4-3. In the series opener Thursday, Oakland lost a three-run lead in a 7-6 loss.
“If a team clobbers you, beats you around the ballpark, that’s one thing,” Inge said. “These are games we actually feel like we had. Those are tough to give away.”
Nelson Cruz reached on Inge’s error and Mike Napoli singled to open the fifth. Milone (8-6) recorded consecutive outs without letting a run score.
Ian Kinsler lifted a bloop single just over Inge’s head to bring in two runs and push Texas ahead 3-2. Shortstop Brandon Hicks then booted Elvis Andrus’ grounder to set the stage for Hamilton.
On a 1-0 pitch from Milone in the fifth, Hamilton’s three-run shot into the visiting bullpen in left-center, gave the Rangers a 6-2 lead. It was his 25th of the season, equaling his total from last season.
Hamilton became the fastest Rangers player to reach 25 homers, accomplishing the feat in 79 team games. The slugger added an RBI single in the seventh.
“We’ve been taking advantage of those kinds of things,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Tonight, it was a situation where they made a couple errors there and we made them pay for it.”
Texas (50-29) became the first team in baseball to reach 50 victories. The Rangers have won 17 of 21 games since June 8.
The Rangers extended their American League West lead to 6 1-2 games over the Los Angeles Angels.
Martin Perez (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings to win in his first career start. The 21-year-old struck out five and walked one.
The rookie was shaky in his debut Wednesday night, giving up four runs and recording only outs against Detroit.
“When I went to the mound at first, I felt a little tension.” Perez said through a translator. “I was able to control everything and I did my job.”
Chris Carter homered in his second straight game since being recalled from Triple-A, and Inge had an RBI single that gave the A’s a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Milone gave up six runs – only one earned – in five innings. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
Other than Adrian Beltre’s solo homer in the fourth, the Rangers had a hard time against Milone before Oakland’s defense unraveled in the fifth.
“You can’t do that here,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “With that lineup and in this park, you can’t give them freebies.”
Notes: Washington has made his manager’s selections for the AL All-Star team. “It’s done,” he said. “It wasn’t as stressful this time around. Overall, it was smooth.” The All-Star teams for both leagues will be announced Sunday. … Melvin said Bartolo Colon may start Tuesday after the right-hander threw a bullpen session Saturday. Colon (strained right oblique) has been on the DL since June 18. … Texas RHP Yu Darvish (10-4) takes the mound looking for his 11th victory Sunday. He will be opposed by Oakland LHP Travis Blackley (1-2). … Texas’ Yoshinori Tateyama and Michael Kirkman combined for 3 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen.
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