A's Kottaras belts winning homer in 10th inning against Rangers

Getty Images File PhotoA's catcher George Kottaras hit a homer in the 10th inning to beat the Rangers 3-2

Catcher George Kottaras hit a second-deck homer to lead off the 10th inning and propel the A’s to a 3-2 victory against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, pulling the A’s within four games of the leaders in the American League West.

Kottaras homered to right field off Mark Lowe (0-2), maintaining the A’s two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card race. The Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 Tuesday.

Evan Scribner (1-0) pitched a flawless ninth for his first-major league victory and Grant Balfour worked the 10th for his 21st save.

Texas pitcher Yu Darvish was scratched from the start due to neck stiffness. Darvish woke up Tuesday morning with stiffness and tried to get it loose with treatment, but without success. The Rangers are not sure when Darvish will start again, and he’s unlikely to get more than one more start during the regular season.

Burlingame native and former College of San Mateo right-hander Scott Feldman started in his place and allowed two runs and four hits in four innings. Oakland starter Tommy Milone allowed two unearned runs and six hits in six innings.

The Rangers scored twice in the first thanks to a fielding error by Oakland right fielder Brandon Moss. Josh Hamilton delivered a single to load the bases, but the charging Moss let the ball get through him, allowing both Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to score.

Daric Barton doubled off the right-field wall in the second to get the A’s on the board and Chris Carter lined a homer to left in the fourth to tie the contest.

NOTES: Slumping Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick was retired as a pinch hitter to end the eighth and is now 0-for-28 over his last seven games. … Hamilton is 3-for-7 in the first two games of the series after returning from a five-game absence due to ocular keratitis, a drying of the corneas that is usually the result of excessive caffeine intake. … Moss made a spectacular back-to-the-plate grab of a bases-loaded, two-out drive by Andrus in the seventh to keep the score tied at 2-2.

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