OAKLAND -- Their center fielder lost a fly ball in the sun, their catcher left the game with nausea and a headache and their starting pitcher was frustrated that a walk kept him from locking down the seventh inning.The Rangers still feel good about where they stand, but they know they missed a chance to move closer to an American League West title when the Athletics rallied for a 4-3 victory on Thursday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum to prevent a three-game sweep. However, Texas' magic number was reduced to two a few hours after they finished playing by virtue of the Angels' 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
"We came here to win the series and we did that," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We're going home to win a series, and if we do that, we're in pretty good shape. We would have rather won the game today, but we didn't play well enough to win. Obviously the more games we win the easier it is, but it just didn't happen today."The Rangers open a three-game series with the Mariners on Friday at the Ballpark in Arlington. Texas wins the division with a victory and an Angels loss to the A's. "We feel great where we're at, but we still have something to accomplish," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We've got to go home, continue to play good baseball and close it out as quickly as we can." The Rangers dominated the A's all season but couldn't close it out Thursday afternoon. They took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but the A's, led by rookie second baseman Jemile Weeks, rallied against Rangers starter Colby Lewis. The Rangers, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, had won 12 of their last 13 against the Athletics. Lewis missed out on a chance to for his fifth victory this season against the Athletics, which would have been the most against them since Ferguson Jenkins in 1974. "That's a team, if you can't get up for playing those guys, they continually give it to you," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "As a team, you have to find a reason to not like, and you have to motivate yourself even more so. They're a good club and you respect them, but a team that beats up on you like that, you better have a little extra hate for them, and I'm glad we came back and won that game." Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba had a rough afternoon while starting for the first time since last Friday. He led off the top of the seventh and smashed a ball off the left-field wall, but after getting a slow start out of the box, he was thrown out by left fielder Josh Willingham trying for a double. Torrealba was upset, thinking he was safe. One inning later he was out of the game while suffering from a headache and nausea. That was the result of taking a particularly hard foul ball off the face mask earlier in the game. The Rangers led, 3-1, going to the bottom of the sixth, but Weeks launched the A's comeback with a one-out home run. Lewis, after allowing an RBI double to Willingham in the first, had retired 13 of 14 batters before giving up his league-leading 35th home run of the season. It was also the first Major League home run for Weeks. "If I'm leading the AL in home runs then it might as well be me who gives up his first Major League home run," Lewis said. The A's tied it in the seventh after Lewis walked David DeJesus with one out. Cliff Pennington then drove one to deep right-center and center fielder Craig Gentry got back to the wall. But he also had trouble with the sun as the ball sailed just beyond his grasp. The ball fell for a double as DeJesus stopped at third. "The more I ran after it, the more it got into the sun," Gentry said. "There was no way to get out of. That was one of those balls that there was only one way to get it and it happened to be right into the sun." Lewis was unhappy that he walked DeJesus on a full-count fastball that missed off the outside corner of the plate. DeJesus was 1-for-14 against Lewis this season prior to that. "I felt like I threw the ball well today," Lewis said. "I was able to go deep in the game and I threw all my pitches for strikes. I was frustrated at myself for walking DeJesus. I fared well against him this year. I had an opportunity, leading, 3-2, in the seventh, and it was one of those situations that I didn't lock down." Darren Oliver replaced Lewis but couldn't keep the run from scoring. Scott Sizemore, pinch-hitting for Brandon Allen, hit a ground ball to second baseman Kinsler. With the infield back, DeJesus scored easily. The A's then went ahead in the eighth on a double by Weeks and a single by Coco Crisp off Rangers reliever Mike Adams. "They just beat us today," manager Ron Washington said. "Last night we got their guy, today they got our guy. It is the way it is. You'd like to win every game, but we were playing against another Major League team and we won two of them. You would like to sweep, but it didn't happen. We've got to keep winning games and winning series. It will happen."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.