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Athletics blast Rangers with four homers

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Athletics blast Rangers with four homers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics' offense on Saturday was as contagious as a cold virus.

Catcher John Jaso and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the sixth inning and Oakland hit two more in the seventh in a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Jaso's two-run home run was his eighth of the season, and Cespedes' 17th, third baseman Josh Donaldson's 22nd and right fielder Josh Reddick's fifth provided insurance for winning pitcher Sonny Gray (12-3).

"Last couple of nights we were a little stagnant and then a home run and another home run," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "It can be a little bit contagious."

The right-handed Gray improved to 6-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last seven starts by giving up only one run on seven hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out five for Oakland (64-39).

Texas starter Nick Tepesch (3-7) took the loss, his third in three starts in July. The right-hander left the game in the seventh inning with left knee soreness.

Left fielder Jim Adduci went 2-for-3 with a walk and run scored for Texas (41-63). Catcher J.P. Arencibia accounted for the Rangers' only RBI.

Texas, which hasn't won consecutive games in July while mired in a 6-27 slide, left eight runners on base.

"You have to put yourselves in situations to get hits, but that's part of the game," Adduci said. "You just look forward to tomorrow and get ready to go."

Left-hander Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth to close the game in a non-save situation.

Tepesch retired 15 of the first 17 hitters before hitting the sixth and more of the two-out trouble he has experienced too often this season.

With one out, he gave up a double to second baseman Eric Sogard and then retired center fielder Coco Crisp on a groundout before Jaso came to the plate.

Jaso's and Cespedes' home runs marked the third time this season that Oakland has hit back-to-back home runs in an inning.

With two outs this season, Tepesch has a 5.65 ERA and has given up four home runs and 10 walks.

"You've got to be able to finish that inning," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He got to the point where he got two outs.

"He just needed to get one more. That's what he has to learn to do. If he keeps pitching the way he threw it today he'll be fine."

Tepesch left in the seventh with the count 2-1 on Donaldson. Right-handed reliever Nate Adcock, who in his debut with the Rangers became the 32nd pitcher used by the team this season, promptly gave up two home runs.

Gray pitched around baserunners in each of the first three innings, before the Rangers broke through with a run in the fourth.

Adduci singled with two outs and got into scoring position with a steal of second before Arencibia's single gave Texas a 1-0 lead.

"(Gray) really finds another level when he gets guys on base," Melvin said. "Not much you can say (about his last seven starts). The numbers speak for themselves. We'll take that."

NOTES: Oakland catcher John Jaso left the game in the eighth inning with left knee irritation, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Texas LHP Derek Holland (recovering from knee surgery) said he will begin a minor-league rehabilitation stint at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. ... RHP Nate Adcock became the Rangers' 32nd pitcher used this season when he entered in the seventh inning, extending a club record. Since 1901, only five teams have used 32 or more pitchers in a season. The record is 37, by San Diego in 2002.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140726/athletics-5-rangers-1