OAKLAND, Calif. -- A player who is well-known only in his hometown and by those who closely follow the Oakland A's or pay his salary, ultimately beat the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.
Brandon Hicks started the ninth with his first major-league home run as the A's avoided a two-game sweep to the Rangers with a 4-3 walk-off victory at O.co Coliseum.
Colby Lewis allowed a run on three hits in five innings in his first start since June 23, but he was removed for precautionary reasons after he felt tightness in the right forearm that put him on the disabled list.
Lewis, who says the discomfort is no cause for alarm, was in position to win, but the loss started to take shape in the seventh inning against an unlikely suspect -- the Rangers' bullpen.
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Alexi Ogando couldn't bail the Rangers out of a jam in his second appearance since coming off the disabled list and suffered the club's first blown save since May 17.
"We had the right situation in the seventh with Ogando coming in there," manager Ron Washington said. "It is one of those days. They beat us. We didn't give it to them. ...We just didn't get it done."
Josh Reddick lined an Ogando fastball off the right-field wall for a two-run double, just above the glove of Nelson Cruz, to pull the A's even at 3-3 in the seventh, and Hicks won it with an opposite-field blast off Michael Kirkman.
Ogando wasn't pitching in a situation when blown saves are most noticed, the ninth inning, but it does go down as the first blown save since Reddick got Ogando for a solo homer May 17.
Ogando, who was activated from the DL on Tuesday and worked two-thirds of an inning, issued a walk to the first batter he faced for the second straight day to help get Reddick to the plate.
Brandon Inge had started the inning with a double off Robbie Ross, who saw his streak of consecutive scoreless innings snapped at 24.
"The last thing I wanted to do was put a guy on base," said Ogando, who retired the next two hitters. "I feel a little uncomfortable trying to work, but I feel like I'm starting to come around."
The Rangers had three chances to bring Cruz home from second base in the ninth inning after he started with a double off All-Star closer Ryan Cook. Mike Napoli, though, struck out after initially showing bunt, and, after David Murphy was walked, Craig Gentry popped out and Ian Kinsler lined to center.
The game ended three pitches later as Hicks launched a changeup on the outer half and a tad up into the right field seats. He entered the at-bat hitting .147.
"He was right on it," said Kirkman, who had pitched a scoreless eighth. I felt good. Everything I threw was down for the most part."
Kirkman was the choice over closer Joe Nathan because the Rangers don't like to use their closer in non-save situations in road games. Also, they thought Kirkman would fare well against Hicks and switch-hitters Cliff Pennington and Coco Crisp.
The Rangers had scored twice in the sixth on RBI singles by Michael Young and Nelson Cruz for the 3-1 lead the normally reliable bullpen couldn't hold.
Lewis had thrown only 75 pitches but felt his forearm starting to stiffen some. The only run Lewis allowed was a solo homer to Inge to start the fifth.
"Nothing to be concerned about. It's not painful. Just being precautionary," Lewis said. "The bullpen kept us there. Anytime you go into extra innings or the bottom of the ninth, you know there's a chance for a walk-off. They did it."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760