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Crisp provides offense as A's, Gonzalez top first-place Rangers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- If only the Oakland Athletics had Coco Crisp contributing this way all season. They might be much closer to pushing the first-place Texas Rangers for a playoff spot.

Crisp homered, hit two sacrifice flies and scored twice to back 10-game winner Gio Gonzalez, and the A's beat the AL West-leading Rangers 6-2 on Saturday.

Crisp missed 70 games early in the season during two separate stints on the disabled list in his first year with Oakland.

"Hopefully this day can lead to some positive stuff," Crisp said. "I've been feeling fine but you can't hit it right at people. It feels like I'm playing catch with them."

Mark Ellis also had a sacrifice fly as Oakland quickly jumped on former A's ace Rich Harden. The A's snapped Texas' three-game winning streak and pulled within 8½ games of the Rangers in the race for the division title.

Gonzalez (10-7) reached double digits in victories for the first time in parts of three major league seasons. The left-hander allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, struck out two and walked three.

"Everyone wants to win 10 games or more," Gonzalez said. "This is a difficult milestone. The 10th win is special for me and for the team. I don't want to stop now."

Taylor Teagarden started the eighth with a drive off Jerry Blevins for the Rangers' first run. Crisp crashed into the center-field wall trying to make a leaping catch on Teagarden's shot and was briefly down, but stayed in the game.

The A's won for the ninth time in their last 10 day games and are a majors-best 26-11 in the afternoon. This was originally scheduled as a night game but was changed for TV.

"Even television's trying to give them a chance," Rangers manager Ron Washington quipped. "Son of a gun. They're out to get us."

Texas lost for only the eighth time in 22 games since the All-Star break. The Rangers couldn't get their offense going against Gonzalez after collecting 22 runs and 33 hits in their previous three games. David Murphy hit a ninth-inning RBI single.

Texas' 9½-game division lead to start the day was the second-largest in franchise history.

Matt Watson added an RBI double in the sixth for the A's, driving in speedy Rajai Davis from first. Crisp hit his second sacrifice fly two batters later.

Harden (4-4) was already long gone. Things didn't start well for the right-hander, who beat the Angels last Saturday in Anaheim in his first start back from the disabled list following a strained muscle in left buttocks.

He allowed an infield single to Crisp leading off the first and walked three of the next four A's hitters, with Kevin Kouzmanoff drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring home Oakland's first run. Ellis followed with a sacrifice fly.

"I didn't give them opportunities to put the ball in play," Harden said. 'I felt decent warming up on the mound, I just struggled to find it. The last time it was just getting ahead of hitters. This time I had no feel whatsoever. They made me throw a lot of pitches. They waited me out."

Harden threw 65 pitches over 2 1/3 innings in his shortest outing of 2010, a tough one to analyze considering he pitched well his last time out.

"His pitch count just got out of control. He could have used his slider if he could place his fastball," Washington said. "He never got the chance to do that. He didn't have the feel of it. ... He just didn't have it and I can't put my finger on it."

Gonzalez quickly found his groove, getting a 1-2-3 first on seven pitches. He allowed a pair of two-out singles in the second to Jorge Cantu and Murphy, but got Christian Guzman on an inning-ending strikeout.

Gonzalez received a mound visit in the fourth from pitching coach Curt Young following consecutive two-out walks to Nelson Cruz and Cantu, then got Murphy to ground out.

Cliff Pennington hit his seventh triple of the season to start the fourth, then scored on Crisp's first sacrifice fly.

Crisp's fourth homer of the year in the second was just his second RBI since the All-Star break. It was Oakland's fourth homer in its last 12 games.

Teagarden earned another start at catcher for the Rangers a day after hitting a two-run homer. Washington talked to Bengie Molina about when he would play, and Molina will go Sunday.

Notes
  • Davis stole his 33rd and 34th bases.
  • Injured Oakland closer and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey reported feeling better but still wasn't ready to resume his throwing routine as he rehabs from a right rib cage strain. He didn't come out of his Wednesday catch session as well as he would have liked.
  • Another former A's pitcher, Colby Lewis , starts Sunday's series finale for Texas.
  • Washington is thrilled to hear the Rangers want ace Cliff Lee back beyond 2010 -- and hopes the pitcher will decide to return. "That's a decision the player has to make," Washington said. "There's going to be quite a bit of competition out there. I certainly hope he wants to stay with the Rangers."
  • Mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture, set to fight later Saturday at neighboring Oracle Arena, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He stopped into Washington's office before the game. Several Texas players were headed to the fight. "Randy, good luck," Washington said. "Don't hurt nobody."
 
Copyright 2015 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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'Hopefully this day can lead to some positive stuff,' says Coco Crisp after his three-RBI game. (AP)
'Hopefully this day can lead to some positive stuff,' says Coco Crisp after his three-RBI game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

C. Crisp
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Oakland

G. Gonzalez
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 3
K 2
 

Related Video

Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Elvis Andrus, SS3000100 .275
Michael Young, 3B4000011 .293
Josh Hamilton, CF4000010 .354
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4010020 .302
Nelson Cruz, RF3000101 .318
Jorge Cantu, 1B2110200 .264
David Murphy, LF4021002 .263
Cristian Guzman, 2B4010013 .272
Taylor Teagarden, C3111001 .122
Totals3126245  
Batting
HR - Taylor Teagarden (3, Blevins)
RBI - David Murphy (35), Taylor Teagarden (5)
2-OUT RBI - David Murphy (18)
SB - Nelson Cruz (14, 2nd base off G. Gonzalez/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Andrus-Guzman-Cantu
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Rich Harden (L,4-4) 2.1233521 5.45
Scott Feldman 4.2333120 5.46
Alexi Ogando 1200110 1.19
HBP - Cust (by Rich Harden)
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Harden 65-32, Scott Feldman 51-32, Alexi Ogando 29-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Harden 1-4, Scott Feldman 7-4
Batters Faced - Rich Harden 15, Scott Feldman 17, Alexi Ogando 6
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF2223100 .250
Daric Barton, 1B3100223 .274
Kurt Suzuki, C4000013 .259
Jack Cust, DH1000200 .289
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B3001112 .267
Mark Ellis, 2B2001100 .257
Rajai Davis, RF-LF4120013 .281
Matt Watson, LF3011002 .200
    Gabe Gross, PR-RF1110000 .240
Cliff Pennington, SS3110002 .259
Totals2667675  
Batting
2B - Matt Watson (2, Feldman)
3B - Cliff Pennington (7, Feldman)
HR - Coco Crisp (4, Harden)
SF - Coco Crisp 2 (5), Mark Ellis (4)
SH - Cliff Pennington (7)
RBI - Coco Crisp 3 (21), Kevin Kouzmanoff (55), Mark Ellis (27), Matt Watson (4)
2-OUT RBI - Coco Crisp (8)
SB - Rajai Davis 2 (34, 2nd base off Feldman/Teagarden, 3rd base off Ogando/Teagarden), Gabe Gross (4, 2nd base off Ogando/Teagarden)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Kouzmanoff-Barton, Pennington-Ellis-Barton
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gio Gonzalez (W,10-7) 7400320 3.51
Jerry Blevins 1111021 3.68
Craig Breslow 1111110 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 113-71, Jerry Blevins 17-13, Craig Breslow 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 11-6, Jerry Blevins 1-0
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 26, Jerry Blevins 4, Craig Breslow 5
Game Information
Attendance - 16104
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Angel Hernandez