Athletics beat Rangers with 9-run 7th

ARLINGTON, Texas —The Oakland Athletics needed a boost on offense after scoring only nine runs in the previous five games.

A nine-run seventh inning in Texas’ hitter-friendly ballpark got the A’s going again.

Jack Cust and Mark Ellis homered in Oakland’s biggest inning of the season as the A’s rallied for a 13-8 victory over the Rangers on Sunday to end their four-game losing streak.

“You know you’re going to get some hits when you come here, and it’s not because of the pitchers,” said Ellis, who raised his career average in Arlington to .395 (73-for-185) with four homers and 26 RBIs.

Texas slugger Josh Hamilton hit his AL-best 15th homer and drove in two runs, giving him a major league-high 63 RBIs.

Milton Bradley also homered and drove in three runs for the Rangers, who held a 7-4 lead after starter Scott Feldman gave up four runs and four hits in six innings. But the first eight Oakland hitters reached base in the seventh against three pitchers before Texas’ bullpen could register an out.

Cust’s two-run shot, Jack Hannahan’s two-run double, Bobby Crosby’s two-run single and Ellis’ solo drive highlighted the nine-run outburst.

The A’s have scored 12 or more runs four times this season, so Oakland manager Bob Geren knows his hitters have the potential to do more than they’ve been doing.

“This is a big-inning ballpark,” he said. “Whoever has the biggest inning or the most big innings usually wins. We’ve had a handful of 12-plus games. We know we’re capable of it.”

Ellis had an outstanding at-bat in his second plate appearance of the seventh, fighting off 12 pitches before homering off Frank Francisco for his second hit of the inning.

“That was probably the best at-bat I’ve seen in 30 years in baseball,” Geren said. “The pitches he was fouling off were pitcher’s pitches. He kept throwing strike after strike after strike, so you’ve got to give him credit.”

Jamey Wright (3-2) was charged with four runs, Robinson Tejeda was tagged with three and Francisco gave up two more in the seventh for the Rangers. The trio walked three in the inning, and all three came around to score.

“We didn’t make pitches,” Texas catcher Gerald Laird said. “We walked some guys, left a few pitches up in the zone, they strung a few hits, and hitting’s contagious. You have those days. Today was ours.”

Rangers relievers had a 1.31 ERA in their previous seven games and hadn’t allowed a homer in their last 16 before faltering against the A’s.

“The bullpen just had a rough day,” manager Ron Washington said. “You take a shower and let that one go.”

Travis Buck also homered for the A’s, and Chad Gaudin (4-3) allowed one hit in a scoreless sixth to earn the win.

Oakland avoided a three-game sweep, beating the Rangers for only the third time in nine meetings this season. The Rangers fell back to .500 (29-29) after moving above the break-even mark on Saturday night for the first time since April 10.

Michael Young’s first-inning single extended his hitting streak to 17 games, and Bradley’s two-run drive gave Texas a 2-0 lead.

Crosby’s RBI groundout in the fourth got the A’s to 2-1, then Oakland went ahead 4-2 with a three-run fifth on Buck’s solo homer, Kurt Suzuki’s RBI single and Hannahan’s sacrifice fly.

Texas’ five-run sixth included RBI singles by Hamilton, Bradley and David Murphy for a 7-4 advantage. But the lead wasn’t safe in the seventh.

“We were having good at-bats,” Cust said. “We got a couple of walks and some big hits. It was nice to come back and respond after they took the lead.”

A’s rookie starter Greg Smith gave up seven runs and seven hits in five innings.


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