Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 9, Rangers 3

September 27, 2012, 3:45 am
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ARLINGTON -- After five consecutive tightly-contested, one-run games, the A's needed a laugher and they got it. They dropped the Rangers by a total of 9-3 to move within three games of Texas in the American League West. Oakland's magic number to clinch at least a spot in the Wild Card playoff game is now at six.At the PlateThe A's erupted for five runs in the first inning and sent nine batters to the plate. Oakland batters collected eight hits including RBI triples hit by Yoenis Cespedes and Derek Norris, and RBI singles by Chris Carter, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson. The A's were aided by two huge defensive mistakes by Rangers' center fielder Josh Hamilton. He ole'd the ball hit by Donaldson, allowing it to get to the wall. He also took a bad route on the ball hit to Norris and then tried to overcompensate by jumping as the ball sailed over his head.While the A's piled up runs, they also piled up strikeouts. They struck out 11 times on Wednesday en route to breaking the American League record for most single-season strikeouts with 1,333. The previous record was 1,324 set by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007.Two more runs came around to score in the third inning. Donaldson and Josh Reddick reached on back-to-back walks to start the inning. Stephen Drew ended up driving them both home with a two-run single. Norris added another RBI single in the fourth inning.Reddick snapped his career-worst 0-for-30 slump in the seventh inning with a single up the middle. As he reached first it looked like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders. The players in the dugout asked for the game ball as a joke. He collected another hit in his next at-bat with a runner in scoring position. The runner was held at third though, so he didn't get an RBI.Drew hasn't been struggling to find hits. He ended the night 4-for-5 with two RBI. Moss had three hits and two runs. Norris added a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to put the A's up 9-3. He drove in three runs.Starting Pitching ReportWhile the A's knocked around Rangers' starting pitcher Martin Perez, eventually driving him out of the game in the first inning, Jarrod Parker had to sit on the bench and wait for his turn. The prolonged wait might have messed up his rhythm a little bit. He walked the leadoff hitter and then gave up an RBI double to Elvis Andrus. He ended up throwing 30 pitches in the first inning.Parker got in trouble in the second inning as well. He gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. He ended up allowing a run on a force out and another on a sacrifice fly but escaped without giving up a big hit.After the iffy start Parker settled down and regained control. He threw four consecutive scoreless innings and made it through the sixth with 109 pitches. The way things started for Parker, six innings of three-run ball and the win is actually a pretty solid line against the Rangers in Texas.Bullpen ReportJerry Blevins started the seventh inning. He tossed a clean 1-2-3 frame. He retired two more batters in the in the eighth inning before leaving the game. Evan Scribner finished it off with one and one-third innings of scoreless relief. The A's bullpen got some much needed rest and is finally looking to be back to full strength.In the FieldThe A's turned a clean inning-ending double play in the fourth. Ian Kinsler hit a grounder to Donaldson who fielded it and make a quick throw to Pennington, who stood strong as he made his throw with the sliding runner bearing down on him.AttendanceThe Rangers announced an attendance of 46,689.Texas Legends DashNolan Ryan wins the dash. It looked like someone in the A's dugout threw something at the fake Ryan as he ran by. No word on if the real Nolan Ryan was in the costume. Though I did see Ryan in the tunnel before the game. You can jump to your own conclusions.Up NextTravis Blackley (5-3, 3.48 ERA) takes the mound in Texas against Matt Harrison (17-10, 3.17 ERA). Harrison leads the Rangers in ERA and wins.

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