Joe Nathan, Rangers escape Oakland with 6-5 win

Posted Wednesday, May. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The music was booming late Tuesday night in the visitor’s clubhouse at O.co Coliseum.

Even Charles Ramsey knows that’s a dead giveaway that the Texas Rangers had won a game.

But all had been quiet after the previous five times the Rangers had played at the home ballpark of their division rival, and it nearly was quiet again.

Joe Nathan, though, found a way to preserve a 10th-inning lead that Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland had provided in the top of the inning, and the Rangers held off Oakland 6-5.

The A’s were down 6-4 entering their final turn at the plate and cut the deficit to one on a one-out double by Seth Smith. They had two chances with the bases loaded, but Nathan wiggled out of the game and snapped the Rangers’ five-game losing streak here.

“Do you want to put yourself in those situations? No,” Nathan said. “These guys always find a way to scrap and get guys on and make it interesting.”

Nathan has been making life interesting of late, too, but he is 12 for 12 in save opportunities. He quickly got the first out of the 10th but issued back-to-back walks to Derek Norris and John Jaso.

Smith followed with a double to left-center that scored Norris and left runners at second and third, and the bases were loaded after Brandon Moss was walked intentionally.

But Nathan got Daric Barton to chase a slider out of the strike zone for the second out, and Ian Kinsler made a nifty play to his right on a grounder by pinch-hitter Eric Sogard to end it.

“We’ve got to set up a double play, and I got a big strikeout on a guy who doesn’t chase a whole lot,” Nathan said. “I kind lost a beat on the ground ball. I thought it might have a chance to get through, but great jump on Ian’s part.”

Beltre had broken a 4-4 tie moments earlier with a solo shot to left-center field on a 3-0 pitch from Chris Resop. It was Beltre’s third hit of the game and his ninth homer of the season.

Manager Ron Washington had given Beltre the green light to swing in 3-0 count.

“I was aggressive,” Beltre said. “I’m looking for something in the middle of the plate. He threw me one over the plate and down in the zone. It was a good pitch to hit.”

Moreland delivered his ninth homer of the season two batters later on a drive to center field on a night that Washington said wasn’t conducive to hitting the long ball.

“The one by Beltre was huge, but then the one Mitch hit was even bigger,” Washington said. “It looked like fog was out there tonight. When it gets like that, the ball gets heavy. That’s why it was amazing how Mitch hit that one to straightaway center field.”

Moreland’s first homer, a two-out two-run shot, capped a three-run fourth inning against Bartolo Colon and staked Derek Holland to a 3-0 lead. But the left-hander couldn’t keep it as Oakland scored two in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

The Rangers pulled even in the eighth on Nelson Cruz’s second sacrifice fly of the game after Andrus had singled to start the inning and gone to third on a one-out single by Beltre.

Tanner Scheppers (3-0) worked two scoreless innings to give Beltre and Moreland a chance in the 10th. Nathan did the rest, though it was hardly easy.

It never is, or so it seems, at O.co Coliseum.

“They always find a way to battle,” Cruz said. “They’ve had it going when they’ve played us the last few series here.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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