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Sizemore smashes a grand slam to deep left

ARLINGTON -- While the A's may not make the playoffs, they can still play spoiler to those teams jockeying for the postseason. Oakland did exactly that against the Rangers in an entertaining game on Saturday, snapping a nine-game losing streak against Texas by winning, 8-7, at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"It felt good regardless of any streak," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You never like to get beat up by the same team, so it's nice to win. It's nice to win a close game, and we battled hard all game."

The A's leaned heavily on Scott Sizemore off the bench, as he belted a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning and made a spectacular catch in the ninth to help preserve the lead.

In the sixth, it looked like the A's were in danger of missing a golden opportunity to put runs on the board after they chased Rangers starter Alexi Ogando in a 3-3 ballgame.

In the first at-bat against Rangers lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez with runners on first and second, Ryan Sweeney attempted to bunt the runners over, but Gonzalez threw to third to get Josh Willingham. Brandon Allen fouled out for the second out. Gonzalez appeared to pitch around Kurt Suzuki to bring up the left-handed Eric Sogard with the bases loaded.

When Melvin pinch-hit Sizemore, Rangers manager Ron Washington countered by bringing in Yoshinori Tateyama. Sizemore responded by hitting the second pitch he saw from Tateyama into the seats in left field.

"It was awesome," Sizemore said. "That was my first big league grand slam. For it to be a pinch-hit one and to give us the lead was even more special. I think I knocked out quite a few things with that hit, so it was a great experience."

For Tateyama, he became the first pitcher since Greg McCarthy of the 1998 Mariners to give up grand slams to two consecutive batters, having ended his last outing allowing a grand slam to the Red Sox's Carl Crawford.

"I thought I had the right matchup, but Sizemore got him," Washington said.

Oakland tacked on another run in the inning when Cliff Pennington drove home Jemile Weeks with a double to right field.

The A's gave back four runs in the next two innings, as Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer and Michael Young drove in two with a single to center field.

The Rangers made one final push in the ninth inning with A's closer Andrew Bailey on the mound.

Ian Kinsler battled for nine pitches before Sizemore again came up big on a foul popup. Kinsler popped Bailey's 3-2 pitch high in the air, and it appeared destined to land out of play, but Sizemore reached over the dugout railing on the third-base side to snare the popup for the first out of the inning.

"That was a great play," Melvin said. "I was watching Suzuki, I didn't see Scotty come into the picture. You obviously want to keep him off the bases to start the inning, and he came out of nowhere. Scott not only helped us out with his bat, he helped us out with his glove from a guy that didn't even start the game."

That was far from the end of the uneasiness for Bailey. He retired Elvis Andrus with a strikeout and then faced Josh Hamilton. Hamilton memorably hit an upper-deck walk-off homer against Bailey on July 9 in Texas.

Bailey walked Hamilton and then appeared to get Young to ground into the game-ending out. After Pennington went far to his right to field the ball at shortstop, Allen put forth a great effort to stretch to catch the ball before Young reached first.

The stretch appeared to throw off first-base umpire James Hoye's point of view, as he ruled that Young beat the throw and was safe at first.

With Beltre coming up and two runners on base, the 46,151 fans began to get raucous, sensing a chance to steal the game back. That died quickly, when Beltre hit a line drive right to Adam Rosales at second base to end the game and give Bailey his 20th save of the season.

"You've just got to walk away from it and get the next guy," Bailey said. "He's not going to reverse that call. You let the manager go out there and handle that and keep your focus on the next guy. Luckily, they didn't put a hole in [Rosales'] glove."

Weeks got attention from the training staff during his eighth-inning at-bat, and he was subbed out after the at-bat for Rosales. After the game, Melvin said that Weeks had sustained a cramp.

While Melvin said Weeks would not play Sunday, he is expected to be available to pinch-hit. Comments