It took extra innings, but the Texas Rangers finally solved the Athletics in Oakland. They now shoot for a series victory over the A's on Wednesday afternoon in the conclusion of a three-game series.
The Rangers had lost six in a row at O.co Coliseum prior to Tuesday's 6-5 victory in 10 innings. That road slide to the A's included a three-game sweep by Oakland to close out the 2012 season, a series win by the Athletics that gave them the AL West title over Texas by a game.
But Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland both hit solo homers in the 10th inning to lift the Rangers to their fifth victory in the past six games overall. Beltre narrowly cleared the wall after getting the green light on a 3-0 pitch before Moreland connected on his second homer of the game.
"You gotta throw a strike there and good call on their side ... 3-0 swing and Beltre hits a homer," A's manager Bob Melvin said of the pitch thrown by reliever Chris Resop. "Then Moreland comes, who's been swinging the bat pretty well, hits another one."
Oakland made one last effort to extend its winning streak over Texas, but Rangers closer Joe Nathan survived a shaky bottom of the 10th to earn the save.
After giving up an RBI single to Seth Smith, Nathan struck out Daric Barton and retired pinch-hitter Eric Sogard on a ground out to leave the bases loaded and pick up his 12th save of the season.
The Rangers, who lost seven of nine in Oakland last season, extended their lead over the second-place A's to six games for the top spot in the AL West.
"Not thinking about how many games we lost here, we're only thinking about the one we played tonight to try to win," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his team's struggles in Oakland. "You can't worry about that type of stuff. We're a good ball club, they're a good ball club and tonight we won."
Smith finished with three hits and scored twice, Josh Donaldson went 4-for-5 and Nate Freiman added two hits, a run scored and an RBI, but the A's lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Melvin, who was ejected in the eighth inning by umpire D.J. Reyburn for arguing a close play at first base, could have outfielder Coco Crisp back in the lineup today. Crisp is likely to be activated off of the disabled list and hasn't played since April 29 due to a strained left hamstring. He is hitting .283 with five homers, 12 RBI and eight steals in 24 games this season.
Alexi Ogando is set to face the A's for the 16th time in his career, but for only the second time as a starter. That meeting came on Sept. 10, 2011 and Ogando suffered a loss after giving up five runs -- three earned -- over five innings.
Ogando still has a solid career earned run average of 3.79 versus Oakland.
The 29-year-old righty is 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts this season and has yielded more than three earned runs in just one of those outings. Ogando is coming off a no-decision at Houston Friday, charged with two runs on five hits and a season-high four walks in 5 2/3 frames.
Taking the mound for the Athletics will be 24-year-old Dan Straily, who looks to find some consistency in his fifth start of the season and 12th of his career.
Straily picked up a loss in Seattle on Friday as he was charged with six runs in an outing for the second time this season. He also yielded six hits and four walks over five innings against the Mariners.
The righty is 1-1 with a 7.06 ERA on the year.
Straily faced the Rangers for the first and only time on Sept. 24 of last year and did not factor into the outcome after yielding two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 frames.