Arlington, TX – Craig Gentry crushed a go-ahead three-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Athletics in the second test of a four-game series Friday at Rangers Ballpark.
Trailing 2-0, Texas loaded the bases in the eighth as Grant Balfour (1-2) surrendered a one-out single to Elvis Andrus before walking Josh Hamilton and Michael Young around an Adrian Beltre fly out.
Nelson Cruz then worked a walk to plate the Rangers' first run and Ryan Cook entered from the bullpen.
"I always want to finish an inning," remarked Balfour, who had thrown 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings coming into Friday night. "I never want to not finish an inning. I should have finished that inning a long time ago."
Gentry then belted Cook's second offering deep to left over the head of Yoenis Cespedes, clearing the bases as he slid into third with a triple.
"I knew I hit it pretty good, but off the bat I thought he was going to catch it," said Gentry about his triple.
Tanner Scheppers surrendered a two-out solo shot to Chris Carter in the ninth, but retired Brandon Hicks on a weak groundball to second to nail down his first major league save and give the Rangers their fourth straight victory.
Matt Harrison (11-3) allowed two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts over eight innings to earn the victory. He is now tied with Tampa Bay's David Price for the American League lead in wins after Price led the Rays to a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
A's starter A.J. Griffin allowed just two hits and two walks over six scoreless innings in his second big league start, but it was spoiled on Gentry's bases-clearing triple in the eighth.
Oakland built its lead by plating a run in the fourth and then again in the fifth.
Jemile Weeks stroked a leadoff triple into the left-center field gap to start the fourth and quickly scored as Cespedes ripped the first pitch he saw into center field to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, Derek Norris singled and Carter followed with a walk.
Harrison retired the next two hitters, but Coco Crisp came through with a two- out single to left to score Carter from second and double the A's edge.
The Rangers managed just two hits over the first seven frames before jumping in front with a four-run bottom of the eighth.
Carter clubbed his first home run of the season in the ninth to make it a one- run difference, but Oakland would get no closer as Hicks grounded out to end the game.
The A's recalled Carter from Triple-A Sacramento before the game and optioned pitcher Tyson Ross to Sacramento...Harrison has now won seven straight decisions and has earned a victory in each of his last three starts...The Rangers placed pitcher Mark Lowe on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained right intercostal muscle and recalled pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama from Triple-A Round Rock.