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MLB: Texas Rangers end 6-game skid with 8-7 win over Oakland A's

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 8:16 a.m. MDT

Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) watches as starting pitcher Nick Tepesch hands the ball over to manager Ron Washington in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) watches as starting pitcher Nick Tepesch hands the ball over to manager Ron Washington in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz thrust his right arm into the air and shouted out in relief while running the bases after hitting his second homer of the night for the Texas Rangers.

After a tough stretch, the Rangers had a loud and clear response Monday night to the message manager Ron Washington delivered the previous day.

Cruz homered twice and the Rangers ended a six-game losing streak with an 8-7 victory over the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics, matching their run total during what had been the majors' longest active skid.

"We were looking for what happened, get some base hits in RBI situations and just keep grinding," Washington said. "They just showed what they have the capability of doing — what they did tonight. That was the only thing that I stressed to them."

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Tepesch (49) delivers to the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Tepesch (49) delivers to the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

Washington had a rare postgame meeting with his team after the Rangers were swept in a four-game series by Toronto, extending their longest home losing streak since 2005. That was part of a 4-11 stretch that dropped them out of first place.

Cruz's second homer was a two-run shot onto the hill in straightaway center field on an 0-2 pitch from Jesse Chavez (1-1) in the fifth. Cruz emphatically responded while rounding the bases on his 18th homer of the season, and second in two innings. It came right after A.J. Pierzynski's RBI double and put the Rangers up 7-6.

"It was the run we need in that situation. It was very emotional," Cruz said. "In our minds, we believe we can do it. We showed what we're capable of doing."

Oakland, which entered the four-game series opener with a three-game division lead over Texas, wiped out an early 3-0 deficit with a six-run fourth ignited by a bizarre play before Neal Cotts (3-1) worked 2 1-3 perfect innings in relief of rookie Nick Tepesch.

Oakland Athletics left fielder Seth Smith (15) makes a sliding grab on an RBI single by Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler in the third inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Rangers' Leonys Martin scored on the hit.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Oakland Athletics left fielder Seth Smith (15) makes a sliding grab on an RBI single by Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler in the third inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Rangers' Leonys Martin scored on the hit. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers each worked 1-2-3 innings, then Joe Nathan gave up a run before securing his 21st save in 22 chances.

After being held to two runs or less in a team record-matching six games in a row, the Rangers took care of that in the first three innings. Pierzynski pulled a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole in the second, an inning before an RBI double by Ian Kinsler. That was Kinsler's first hit in 10 at-bats since coming off the disabled list Saturday after missing 25 games with a rib cage injury.

The Rangers' eight runs and 12 hits were both their most in 16 games this month.

In the Oakland fourth, Yoenis Cespedes hit a grounder that ricocheted off third baseman Adrian Beltre toward shortstop. Elvis Andrus was about to throw to first when he saw John Jaso running in front of him toward third.

Fans stand and cheer as Texas Rangers' A.J. Pierzynski (12) flips the bat running down the first base line on his two-run home run off of Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily in the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Fans stand and cheer as Texas Rangers' A.J. Pierzynski (12) flips the bat running down the first base line on his two-run home run off of Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily in the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

Andrus threw to Beltre, who made a swiping attempt at a tag. Jaso, sliding headfirst in front of him, lifted his arm into the air trying to avoid the tag and then dived into the base with his left hand. He was called safe by third base umpire Jordan Baker even though it appeared his hand came off the bag while being tagged. Beltre was irate and Washington also came out to argue the call.

"It's a little odd that the umpire can miss the call twice. ... He's right on top of the play and he still missed it," Beltre said. "I got him twice. I know that, because I did it myself, and I went to see the replay to confirm. The replay showed I tagged him twice. I don't know what he saw."

Tepesch then allowed three hits and a walk to the next four hitters, including a two-run single by Seth Smith, who scored on Jed Lowrie's double. Eric Sogard had a sacrifice fly and Coco Crisp's RBI single made it 6-3 and chased Tepesch.

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily (67) walks back to the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Texas Rangers' A.J. Pierzynski, rear, in the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dan Straily (67) walks back to the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Texas Rangers' A.J. Pierzynski, rear, in the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

"He made some good pitches in the bottom of the strike zone, and they went down there and they got them and they found holes," Washington said.

Oakland rookie Dan Straily had a 2.21 ERA in his previous five starts, a stretch that began at Texas on May 21 when the right-hander worked seven scoreless innings and faced 22 batters — one more than the minimum for that span — in a 1-0 win over Yu Darvish.

Straily hadn't allowed a homer in his last six starts and 38 innings until Pierzynski went deep. The first of Cruz's two homers came off him as well.

Cruz was the first batter faced by Chavez when he took over for Straily, who allowed six runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings.

"I was up in the strike zone. They were aggressive and I just got beat, plain and simple," Straily said. "Swing early and often. I feel like everyone up there was trying to swing out of their shoes on every single pitch. They got me, that's all there is to it."

Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz celebrates as he rounds first on his two-run home run off of Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jesse Chavez in the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. The home run also scored A.J. Pierzynski.  (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press) Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz celebrates as he rounds first on his two-run home run off of Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Jesse Chavez in the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. The home run also scored A.J. Pierzynski. (Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press)

NOTES: Cespedes started his fourth consecutive game as Oakland's DH after missing two games because of left hamstring tightness. Manager Bob Melvin wants to see him in the field during batting practice before putting him back in the outfield. ... Rangers starting pitchers have gone 16 games in a row without a victory this month, matching a team record set in 1975. ... It was Cruz's 10th career multihomer game.

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