Small ball adds up to another big win for Rangers

Posted Friday, Jun. 29, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- Pitching injuries and an inconsistent offense is usually a formula for losses, but the Texas Rangers continue to find ways to win through both of them.

They did it again on Thursday night, going with a small-ball attack en route to a 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers have won 11 of their last 13, and maintained their 41/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West.

David Murphy came through for a second consecutive night with a two-out, two-run single in a four-run fifth, and Mike Adams and Joe Nathan kept a one-run lead intact the final two innings. It was a 3 hour, 54-minute game, the longest nine-inning game of the season.

Manager Ron Washington credits the team's success through a period when things could fall apart to focus.

"They're good at being focused on what is in front of them today and I think that's why we've been able to sustain," Washington said.

"We know that there is a lot of baseball to be played. Some days you just have to go out there with what you have."

The Rangers had another spot start by Scott Feldman, who pitched well enough to keep the game within reach and long enough to eventually get the win.

Oakland jumped to a 4-1 lead early in the game against Feldman, courtesy of three solo home runs and an RBI single. Josh Reddick went deep in the first, and Derek Norris and Cliff Pennington led off the third with solo shots. Yoenis Cespedes brought in another run with an RBI single in the third.

But, as it's been the case for the Rangers of late, they found a way to rally.

In the fifth, Leonys Martin drew a leadoff walk followed by infield singles by Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. Martin scored on Andrus' single, and Josh Hamilton drew a walk to load the bases. Adrian Beltre then took a four-pitch walk to bring in the tying run, 4-4.

With the bases loaded and no outs, the Rangers almost squandered away an opportunity to take the lead. Michael Young popped up in foul territory, and Nelson Cruz struck out swinging. Murphy, though, came through in the clutch for a second straight day, sending a two-run single to right to give the Rangers a 6-4 lead.

"In baseball sometimes things go well, sometimes they don't," Murphy said. "I feel good and loose and my swing is nice and easy right now."

In the end, the Rangers scored four runs with only one ball leaving the infield in the fifth.

"Some people call it small ball. I call it winning baseball," Washington said. "We're starting to get back to what we do. Getting free on the base paths and doing things. That's winning baseball."

Feldman started the sixth, but gave up consecutive singles to start the inning. The Rangers turned to Tanner Scheppers, and he ended the threat by inducing a double play grounder and a flyout.

Texas cushioned its lead to 7-4 in the bottom half. Andrus walked, stole second and moved to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Beltre. The steal by Andrus was the fourth by the Rangers, matching the team's season high.

Scheppers started the seventh, but gave up a run. Robbie Ross entered with one out, and allowed an inherited runner to score but kept the Rangers in front, 7-6.

Mike Adams worked around a one-out walk in the eighth. Joe Nathan made it interesting in the ninth, putting runners on the corners with one out. But he managed to pick up his 18th save of the season, striking out Seth Smith and getting Brandon Inge to ground out.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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