Arlington, TX (Sports Network) – Mike Napoli blasted a grand slam in a five- run first inning as the Rangers took down the Athletics, 8-5, in the battle of two left-handed All-Star pitchers. The game started on a somber note roughly 24 hours after a fan, Shannon Stone, fell to his death while reaching for a foul ball thrown his way by Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton in the second inning of Thursday’s contest. It was an event Rangers president Nolan Ryan called “a very tragic incident” and one that “hits us at the root of who we are.” Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre also went deep for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight.
C.J. Wilson (9-3) allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while fanning eight through seven innings to win his fifth consecutive decision. He hasn’t lost since May 20 at Philadelphia. Gio Gonzalez (8-6) lasted just four innings, allowing seven runs — three earned — on seven hits and three walks as the A’s lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
“[Gonzalez] kept fighting and kept battling,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It was a bad outing for him, but we’re glad he gave us four.”
Elvis Andrus and Hamilton had back-to-back one-out singles in the first inning before Adam Rosales let a grounder by Beltre roll through his legs, allowing Andrus to score from second. Michael Young followed with an infield single to load the bases. After a Nelson Cruz strikeout, Napoli hammered a first-pitch fastball over the left-field wall for a grand slam, giving the Rangers a 5-0 advantage.
“The pitch was up-and-in. My hands reacted and got the barrel to it,” recalled Napoli.
Solo home runs by Kinsler and Beltre in the second inning extended Texas’ lead.
The A’s got a run back in the second inning on Scott Sizemore’s solo home run, but their best chance to cut into the lead came in the fourth. Trailing 7-1, the A’s loaded the bases with no outs on a walk by Coco Crisp, a Josh Willingham base hit and a walk by Scott Sizemore. Oakland would only get one run in the frame, though, as Conor Jackson grounded into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and Ryan Sweeney grounded out to second, ending the threat.
The Rangers added another run in the fifth on Yorvit Torrealba’s RBI single.
David DeJesus laid down a bunt single to lead off the sixth, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball by Torrealba before coming home on an infield single by Crisp. Willingham followed with a double into left, scoring Crisp and making it an 8-4 game.
Oakland tried to rally again in the ninth against Neftali Feliz. Jackson walked to lead off the frame and was followed by a single by Sweeney to put runners on the corners with no outs. But Feliz got Kurt Suzuki to ground into the A’s second run-scoring double play of the game, and Rosales grounded out to third to end the game.
Texas placed infielder Andres Blanco on the 15-day disabled list, purchased the contract of infielder Omar Quintanilla from Round Rock, transferred pitcher Scott Feldman to the 60-day disabled list and released pitcher Dave Bush Friday…Oakland fell to 9-9 in games started by Gonzalez…Texas improved to 6-2 on its 10-game homestand…Oakland fell to 1-4 in its stretch of 11 straight games against all three American League West opponents…The 106 degree temperature at the start of the game was the highest temperature for a first-pitch at Rangers Ballpark…Beltre will now be the starting third baseman in the All-Star game after it was announced that the Yankees Alex Rodriguez will not participate.