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Payton paces A's past division rival Rangers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- After forcing his way out of Boston because he wasn't playing enough, Jay Payton is making the most of his time in the Oakland Athletics lineup.

Payton helped keep a three-run deficit within reach by running into the left-field wall for the catch that ended the fourth inning. He began Oakland's comeback by leading off the fifth with a single that turned into the Athletics' first run. He capped his performance by driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of a 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

"I'm happy to be here, to be getting the opportunity to play games," Payton said. "I guess since I yelled to get out of Boston, I better do OK or else it's not going to look too good."

Payton's frustration over playing time led to a spat with manager Terry Francona and, ultimately, his trade to Oakland. With his second straight three-hit game, Payton is 9-for-23 (.391) with two home runs and five RBI in five games with the A's.

"He came in with the right attitude," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "He's driving in runs, making great catches -- there's not much not to like."

He may have won over his teammates with his feats in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth.

Texas was up 3-0 -- with ace Kenny Rogers pitching what might be his last game for a while -- when Mark Teixeira drove a ball into the left-center gap with runners on second and third and two outs. Payton tracked it down and hung on as he slammed into the wall.

Rogers had retired eight straight batters since Payton singled in the second. Payton singled again and scored on Nick Swisher's double. Then Swisher narrowly scored on a play at the plate and the A's were within one.

"If that ball (Teixeira hit) falls in, they get two more runs and it's 5-0. Instead, we get two runs and it's 3-2, so that play was huge," Oakland starter Joe Blanton said.

Swisher drove in two more runs in the sixth to put the A's up 4-3. After Michael Young tied it for Texas, Payton chopped a ball through the left side of the infield off Kameron Loe (4-3) to put Oakland back in the lead for good. Bobby Kielty, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games, added an RBI single in the ninth.

Jay Witasick (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for his first win since 2003. Huston Street got two outs for his third save in as many days, and his eighth in 12 chances this season.

The A's beat the Rangers for the fourth time in five meetings since the All-Star break. They've won 19 of their last 24, helping them open a 1½-game lead over Texas for second in the AL West. This win also improved the A's to 12-5 in their last 17 road games, which is significant because they were 1-16 in their previous 17 away from home.

Rogers is usually tough on Oakland, but he couldn't protect the lead this time. The question now for Texas is when will he pitch again.

He'll go before commissioner Bud Selig in Milwaukee on Friday to appeal his 20-game suspension for shoving two cameramen. If no decision is made by Monday, the Rangers could try starting Rogers that night on three days' rest, even though he threw 107 pitches Thursday.

However, even after Selig rules, the players association could drag things out longer by taking the case to an arbitrator over the fact Selig issued the penalty instead of baseball's head disciplinarian, Bob Watson.

In the Texas clubhouse Thursday night, the only concern was wasting their strong start.

"We had them on the ropes but couldn't deliver the big blow," manager Buck Showalter said.

The Rangers left someone on base each of the first seven innings, stranding 11 and going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in that span.

"It was one of those games where when it's over, you think back about the things that you could have done," Texas' David Dellucci said.

Alfonso Soriano tripled, doubled and singled in his first three at-bats, leaving him a homer shy of the cycle. He grounded out to the shortstop in the sixth and flew out to the edge of warning track in right-center in the ninth.

Notes

  • A's leadoff man Jason Kendall beat out an infield hit in the ninth to end an 0-for-19 skid.
  • Sandy Alomar Jr. laid down the Rangers' third sacrifice bunt of the season in the third. Going into Thursday night, Boston had the next-fewest with six and Washington led the majors with 58.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kenny Rogers: No-decision before making his appeal to Bud Selig, who's sure to make a decision. (AP)
Kenny Rogers: No-decision before making his appeal to Bud Selig, who's sure to make a decision. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Oakland

J. Payton
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Oakland Athletics
Jason Kendall, C5110001 .275
Mark Kotsay, CF5000002 .268
Bobby Crosby, SS3220200 .309
Eric Chavez, DH5000035 .270
Bobby Kielty, RF4121110 .287
Jay Payton, LF5131002 .282
Nick Swisher, 1B3123101 .246
Keith Ginter, 3B3000023 .169
   a- Scott Hatteberg, PH1000003 .278
    Marco Scutaro, 3B0000000 .253
Mark Ellis, 2B4011013 .292
Totals3861164720 
a-popped out for Ginter in the 8th
Batting
2B - Nick Swisher (15, Rogers)
3B - Bobby Crosby (3, Rogers)
RBI - Bobby Kielty (40), Jay Payton (26), Nick Swisher 3 (44), Mark Ellis (18)
2-OUT RBI - Bobby Kielty (19), Nick Swisher 2 (18)
Team LOB - 9
Oakland Athletics
Joe Blanton 5733320 4.68
Joe Kennedy (BS,1) 1.2211310 6.93
Jay Witasick (W,1-4) 1000010 2.58
Ricardo Rincon (H,11) 0.2000010 4.18
Huston Street (S,8) 0.2000000 1.50
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 93-53, Joe Kennedy 46-25, Jay Witasick 10-6, Ricardo Rincon 10-6, Huston Street 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 6-7, Joe Kennedy 2-2, Jay Witasick 1-1, Huston Street 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 25, Joe Kennedy 10, Jay Witasick 3, Ricardo Rincon 2, Huston Street 2
Texas Rangers
David Dellucci, DH4000123 .264
Michael Young, SS4012012 .323
Mark Teixeira, 1B4110114 .279
Hank Blalock, 3B4100112 .286
Alfonso Soriano, 2B5032000 .283
Kevin Mench, LF4000103 .274
Gary Matthews Jr., CF3110102 .242
Richard Hidalgo, RF3010101 .216
Sandy Alomar Jr., C3120002 .310
Totals344946519 
Batting
2B - Michael Young (20, Kennedy), Alfonso Soriano (25, Blanton), Sandy Alomar Jr. (4, Kennedy)
3B - Alfonso Soriano (1, Blanton)
SF - Michael Young (1)
SH - Sandy Alomar Jr. (1)
RBI - Michael Young 2 (51), Alfonso Soriano 2 (63)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Young (25), Alfonso Soriano 2 (25)
Team LOB - 11
Texas Rangers
Kenny Rogers 6844050 2.71
Kameron Loe (L,4-3) 1.1111300 4.75
John Wasdin 1.2211120 4.64
WP - John Wasdin (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Kenny Rogers 107-70, Kameron Loe 35-19, John Wasdin 36-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenny Rogers 7-6, Kameron Loe 2-2, John Wasdin 1-2
Batters Faced - Kenny Rogers 26, Kameron Loe 8, John Wasdin 8
Game Information
Attendance - 31643
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 95
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Paul Schrieber