OAKLAND, Calif. — You can’t get a walk-off win on the road, but this was about as close as it could get.
Having lost two leads earlier in the game, having lost two players to injuries and seemingly having lost the tying run on a blown squeeze bunt, the Texas Rangers still managed to score twice after they were down to their last strike Tuesday night to steal a 5-4 win from AL West rival Oakland.
No. 9 hitter Josh Wilson, whose error earlier in the game had helped Oakland take the lead, drove home the tying run with a two-out, two-strike double off the left field wall. It scored Leonys Martin, who reached first on the failed squeeze bunt that saw Mitch Moreland cut down at home. Martin then stole second.
After Wilson’s game-tying hit, Michael Choice, acquired from Oakland this winter, singled up the middle to score Wilson.
The win was the Rangers’ second consecutive one-run win over Oakland and clinched the three-game series against the A’s. It was also the Rangers’ seventh one-run win this season. They are tied with Pittsburgh for the most one-run wins in the majors.
Figueroa leaves after one pitch: Reliever Pedro Figueroa became the third player to leave a game early with an injury in just two days in Oakland.
Figueroa threw just one pitch, hitting Josh Reddick on the hip in the eighth inning. He immediately started to shake his arm and fingers and came out after a brief meeting on the mound.
Earlier in the game, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff left with tightness in his back. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo suffered a sprained ankle Monday after hitting first base awkwardly.
Figueroa had pitched effectively in the last week, going 32/3 scoreless innings while allowing a pair of hits.
Chirinos gets call: Robinson Chirinos will start all three games behind the plate; J.P. Arencibia will start none.
Manager Ron Washington started Chirinos on Monday and Tuesday night and said he’d “probably” be the starter for Wednesday’s day game. Usually, in a catching platoon, the catchers would split duties so that one didn’t have to play a day game following a night game.
Washington, however, also wants to pair Chirinos and Wednesday left-handed starter Martin Perez. The two were teammates in Venezuela, are friends and have paired well in Perez’s first four starts. Perez takes a 17-inning scoreless streak into the start. The Rangers can play Chirinos three straight days knowing that they will be able to give him — along with the rest of the team — a day off Thursday
Chirinos’ start Tuesday was his sixth in the Rangers’ last eight games. The Rangers are 6-0 in that span.
Entering Tuesday, each had started 10 games and the differences were startling. Rangers pitchers had a 2.89 ERA with Chirinos behind the plate; 5.86 with Arencibia. Chirinos had a .211 batting average and .663 OPS compared with .067 and .225 for Arencibia. And perhaps most significant is this: The Rangers were 8-2 when Chirinos started; 4-6 with Arencibia.
Noesi goes: In order to make room on the roster for right-hander Nick Martinez, who started Tuesday’s game, the Rangers designated right-hander Hector Noesi for assignment. The Rangers have 10 days to trade, release or assign Noesi outright to the minors if he clears waivers.
Noesi has made three appearances for the Rangers since being acquired in an April 12 trade with Seattle. He allowed seven runs in his last outing on Sunday vs. Chicago. Noesi, 28, has a 5.81 ERA in 196.1 career major league innings.
Rotation roulette: The Rangers are considering the possibility of using their off day Thursday and the possible addition of left-hander Matt Harrison to the rotation to move Yu Darvish’s next start back so he can face Oakland again on Monday in Arlington.
Washington said right-hander Colby Lewis will start the series opener against Seattle on Friday and then left the rest of the weekend rotation up in the air. He could then use Harrison, who threw in the bullpen again Tuesday, on Saturday or Darvish. In Sunday’s finale against Seattle, Washington could go with Harrison or Robbie Ross.
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