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Oakland at Texas

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Oakland (65-64) «0011230018120
Texas (73-57)001001000262

Athletics crush Rangers, cut division deficit to 7 1/2

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Gio Gonzalez provided quite a follow-up to Dallas Braden, going to a near extreme to copy his Oakland teammate while pitching the Athletics to a series-clinching victory over AL West-leading Texas.

A day after Braden threw a shutout, Gonzalez limited the Rangers to two runs over six innings Sunday to win his third straight start, an 8-2 victory that cut Oakland's division deficit to 7½ games.

More on Rangers

"I was just trying to follow in the footsteps behind a guy who pitched a great game," Gonzalez said. "The Rangers are a great hitting team, but we've been doing our homework. We sat down and went through it with Dallas. He gave me a pep talk on each one of them and it worked."

Gonzalez (12-8) left with a 7-2 lead after throwing 65 of his 95 pitches for strikes on another hot day in Texas. The left-hander, now 7-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 day games this season, even talked to the baseball -- a La Braden.

"I had a pep talk with the baseball today ... It's the first time. I guess he's rubbing off too much on me," Gonzalez said. "After Hamilton's homer, I got the ball and started yelling at it. 'C'mon, do your job.' Then the baseball told me to calm down. I'm losing my mind."

Josh Hamilton drove in both Texas runs, with a two-out bloop RBI single in the third and his 31st homer in the sixth. Hamilton has five homers his past 10 games and raised his majors-best batting average to .359.

Hamilton's 403-foot blast off the facade of the second deck of seats in right field was the only homer Gonzalez allowed his last seven starts.

Mark Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff homered for the A's off Colby Lewis (9-11), while Cliff Pennington snapped out of a 2-for-24 slide with two singles and a sacrifice squeeze bunt.

Lewis missed on his eighth attempt to get his 10th victory, and six of the season-high seven runs he gave up in 5 2/3 innings were earned. The unearned run came after his throwing error on what should have been an inning-ending double play.

"You have a job to do, period. Apparently, I didn't do it today," Lewis said. "I didn't make pitches when I needed to, and of course didn't make a play when I needed to. Definitely, I take that burden."

There is only one more series between the AL West's top two teams the final five weeks of the regular season. That is a four-game set Sept. 23-26 at Oakland, which has an 8-7 series lead after winning the pitching gems by Braden and Gonzalez.

"Don't count us out yet. We're still fighting," Gonzalez said.

"Nobody's given up on this. Everybody's trying to win every single game. These guys fight all the time," manager Bob Geren said when asked if his team could catch Texas. "If our offense continues to swing the bats the way they are and match the great pitching we have, then yes, definitely."

Lewis had his shortest outing since pitching only five innings July 16 at Boston when he got his ninth victory. Lewis is 0-6 since and Texas has scored only eight runs while he was on the mound in those eight games.

"We got outpitched today, got outpitched yesterday. Pitching stops everything," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We lost two games, that's all it was."

Oakland went ahead to stay when Ellis broke a 1-all tie with his third homer, a towering flyball that dropped just beyond the 14-foot wall in left-center field.

The A's scored twice in the fifth for a 4-1 lead after Lewis' throwing error on Kurt Suzuki's comebacker. Lewis threw the ball way wide of second base and into center. Pennington scored and Daric Barton moved from first to third before then scoring on an inning-ending double play.

"It was just a normal play ... I just didn't make the throw," Lewis said. "I don't think it was the turning point. I gave up eight hits, two of them hard-hit. That was it. They singled me to death."

First baseman Jorge Cantu then snagged Jack Cust's hard grounder at the bag, wiping out the force at second. Suzuki got caught up between first and second and avoided being tagged long enough for Barton to score.

Kouzmanoff led off the sixth with his 12th homer, before consecutive singles set up Pennington's squeeze bunt and Coco Crisp's RBI single to chase Lewis.

Notes

  • Oakland is 30-13 in day games, best in the majors. ... Texas plays its next 10 games on the road.
  • The Rangers plan to activate RF Nelson Cruz (right hamstring) from the disabled list before Monday night's game in Kansas City. He played three rehab games for Double-A Frisco.
  • Washington said every Texas pitcher in the rotation will get an extra day off rest with the upcoming off day Thursday. That includes struggling Cliff Lee, who has pitched every fifth day for Texas since he was acquired July 9.
 
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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Gio Gonzalez bags his third consecutive win to help the A's stay in contention for the AL West.   (AP)
Gio Gonzalez bags his third consecutive win to help the A's stay in contention for the AL West. (AP)

Players of the Game
Oakland

M. Ellis
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Texas

J. Hamilton
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Coco Crisp, CF4021121 .274
Daric Barton, 1B2101201 .279
Kurt Suzuki, C5000014 .245
Jack Cust, DH4110113 .275
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B5121021 .262
Mark Ellis, 2B5121001 .252
Jeff Larish, LF3010000 .222
    Gabe Gross, PR-RF1100011 .236
   a- Matt Carson, PH-RF0001000 .195
Rajai Davis, RF-LF5220022 .274
Cliff Pennington, SS2121100 .256
Totals36812659  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Gross in the 9th
Batting
2B - Rajai Davis (22, Lewis)
HR - Kevin Kouzmanoff (12, Lewis), Mark Ellis (3, Lewis)
SF - Daric Barton (5), Matt Carson (2)
SH - Cliff Pennington (9)
RBI - Coco Crisp (29), Daric Barton (46), Kevin Kouzmanoff (65), Mark Ellis (34), Matt Carson (4), Cliff Pennington (35)
2-OUT RBI - Coco Crisp (12)
SB - Cliff Pennington (23, 2nd base off Lewis/Molina)
CS - Cliff Pennington (5, 3rd base by Ogando/Molina)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Pennington-Ellis-Barton, Kouzmanoff-Ellis-Barton
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gio Gonzalez (W,12-8) 6522141 3.23
Craig Breslow 2000010 3.39
Michael Wuertz 1100000 4.45
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 95-64, Craig Breslow 27-17, Michael Wuertz 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 6-7, Craig Breslow 2-3, Michael Wuertz 2-0
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 23, Craig Breslow 6, Michael Wuertz 3
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andres Blanco, SS3000010 .258
Michael Young, 3B4000001 .285
Josh Hamilton, LF3122100 .359
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4010002 .299
Jorge Cantu, 1B4000031 .255
David Murphy, RF3010010 .274
Bengie Molina, C3010001 .241
Alex Cora, 2B3000001 .206
Julio Borbon, CF3110000 .267
Totals3026215  
Batting
HR - Josh Hamilton (31, G. Gonzalez)
SH - Andres Blanco (2)
RBI - Josh Hamilton 2 (95)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Hamilton (30)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Cantu-Blanco
E - Colby Lewis (3, Throwing), Michael Young (19, Dropped fly)
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Colby Lewis (L,9-11) 5.2876372 3.61
Michael Kirkman 1.1100010 0.00
Alexi Ogando 1100110 1.44
Matt Harrison 1211100 3.84
Pitches-Strikes - Colby Lewis 91-61, Michael Kirkman 16-10, Alexi Ogando 21-13, Matt Harrison 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Colby Lewis 6-5, Matt Harrison 1-2
Batters Faced - Colby Lewis 29, Michael Kirkman 5, Alexi Ogando 4, Matt Harrison 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37188
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 92
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Tim Welke