Kottaras' HR in 10th lifts A's over Rangers 3-2

Associated Press Modified: September 26, 2012 at 12:33 am •  Published: September 26, 2012
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — All it took was one big swing from George Kottaras to give the Oakland Athletics a much-needed victory against the team they're chasing in the AL West.

Kottaras hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning and the A's moved within four games of the division lead by beating the first-place Texas Rangers 3-2 Tuesday night.

"To do that and help the team in that manner was huge for me," Kottaras said. "I went up there looking for a fastball and he threw one that I could handle."

Before that, Oakland hitters were having a miserable time against the Texas bullpen. The A's managed only one hit and struck out nine times in five innings against Michael Kirkman, Koji Uehara and Alexi Ogando.

Instead of bringing in closer Joe Nathan or setup man Mike Adams, the Rangers went with Mark Lowe in the 10th.

Kottaras hit a 3-2 fastball from Lowe (0-2) into the first row of the upper deck in right field. The catcher has six home runs for the A's since he was acquired July 29 from Milwaukee.

The A's remained two games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild-card spot. The Angels beat Seattle 5-4.

"Each and every win has a little bit more magnitude to it, especially against a team that's above you," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "This team's responded like this many, many times this year. It doesn't surprise me."

Lowe hadn't pitched in a week and has given up six runs in his last 1 1-3 innings. Nathan and Adams had pitched the past two days.

"Some of those other guys in the bullpen have to come in and get outs," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It can't always be Joe Nathan or Mike Adams."

Texas' magic number remained at five for clinching its third straight division crown.

Scheduled starter Yu Darvish was scratched by the Rangers about 2½ hours before the first pitch because of a stiff neck. Scott Feldman took his place.

Feldman was removed after allowing a leadoff single to Kottaras in the fifth. The right-hander gave up two runs and four hits in four-plus innings before being relieved by Kirkman.

"I wanted to go as long as I could," said Feldman, who threw 75 pitches. "I would have loved to have thrown 100 pitches."

The A's lost the opener of the four-game series 5-4 Monday night. The teams play five more times over the final eight games of the season.

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