Nelson Cruz and Jurickson Profar hit two-run homers, and A.J. Pierzynski drove in three more runs as the Rangers overcame a sluggish performance by Alexi Ogando to beat Oakland 8-3 Friday night.
Ron Washington tied Bobby Valentine for the most wins by a Rangers manager at 581 as the Rangers won their fifth straight game. All five have come in the aftermath of a 45-minute team meeting Sunday in Cleveland spearheaded by Washington.
The victory also moved the Rangers within 2 ½ games of Oakland in the American League West and vaulted them into a tie with Baltimore for the second wild-card berth into the postseason.
Cruz’s 26th homer in the season, a line drive to center field in the second inning, erased a 2-0 lead the A’s had taken in the first against a wild Ogando. Adrian Beltre drove in a run in the third with a groundout, and Pierzynski followed with a soft liner that just eluded shortstop Jed Lowrie for a 4-2 lead.
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Profar’s fourth homer of the season, and first as a right-handed batter, came in the fourth, and Pierzynski’s broken-bat single in the seventh made it 8-3.
Ogando struggled with his fastball command and lasted only four innings. He allowed a run in the third on a two-out double by Coco Crisp that hopped out of Cruz’s glove near the right-field wall.
But Ogando threw 92 pitches in four innings, only 48 strikes, and walked five. Jason Frasor earned the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, including getting the final out of the fifth with the bases loaded.
-- Jeff Wilson