Adrian Beltre hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning and cranked a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Texas Rangers over the visiting A’s 5-4 in the opener of a key four-game series Monday.
Beltre’s third hit of the game came against Tyson Ross (2-11) and occurred after the A’s walked Josh Hamilton intentionally to load the bases. It also gave the Rangers a five-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which had its lead over the idle Los Angeles Angels for the second wild-card spot reduced to two games.
Oakland jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Josh Donaldson’s two-run homer in the second. The Rangers scored in the bottom of the inning on Mitch Moreland’s single, but Yoenis Cespedes drilled a two-out solo shot to left in the third to make it 3-1.
Hamilton hit his major league-leading 43rd homer of the season in the fifth to pull Texas within one. Oakland’s Chad Pennington had a run-scoring single in the sixth before Beltre slugged his game-tying blast to right field in the seventh.
Joe Nathan (3-4) pitched a scoreless ninth for Texas.
Oakland’s Dan Straily struck out eight and allowed two runs — one earned — and five hits in 62/3 innings, while Rangers starter Derek Holland gave up three runs and four hits in three frames.
Hamilton was back in the lineup Monday after being out since Sept. 18 with blurred vision that was a result of too much caffeine from sports drinks.
Hamilton has ocular keratitis, a condition that can result from consuming too much caffeine.
The A’s will look to get back on track today when they send Tommy Milone to the mound to face the the Rangers Yu Darvish. Meanwhile, they’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Angels, who open up a three-game series against the Mariners today.
NOTES: A’s outfielder Josh Reddick batted seventh, the first time he’s hit in the lower third of the order since the second game of the season. he went 0-for-3 and is hitless in his last 27 at-bats. … The A’s and Rangers will play six of their final nine games against one another. … Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp (pink eye) missed his sixth straight contest.