Hideki Matsui hit the first pitch of the 10th inning from Darren Oliver into the right-field seats for a game-winning home run, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
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Grant Balfour (2-1) walked three batters in the top of the 10th to load the bases for pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba, who struck out swinging on the right-hander’s 30th pitch.
Josh Willingham hit a tying home run leading off the eighth against Texas reliever Arthur Rhodes, and the A’s took three of four from the reigning AL champions.
Matsui’s clout against Oliver (1-3) was just the third of the season for the designated hitter and Oakland’s first walkoff homer of 2011. Matsui added an RBI groundout in the fifth.
Texas has lost six of eight and 12 of 19 following a 9-1 start.
Michael Young hit a two-run double and a sacrifice fly but the bullpen couldn’t hold a one-run lead for Texas starter Derek Holland, who allowed eight hits and three runs in seven innings.
The Rangers were hoping to gain some momentum from the series finale heading into a three-game series at Seattle in which Texas will miss Mariners ace and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez.
Oakland’s Kurt Suzuki homered for the second time in three games and went 6 for 16 with two homers, five RBIs and three runs scored during the series. The first-time father was activated from the paternity leave list before Friday’s opener with the Rangers following the birth of daughter, Malia, on Thursday.
Young and Adrian Beltre had back-to-back sacrifice flies in the fifth but Texas couldn’t bounce back from a 7-2 loss Sunday. Texas manager Ron Washington sat second baseman Ian Kinsler and used third baseman Beltre as the designated hitter to give him a day off his legs.
Brandon McCarthy, facing Texas for the first time since 2006, was tagged for four runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.
The A’s overcame two more errors that gave them an AL-leading 27, one more than the Rangers after Texas also had one Monday. Oakland is also tied with Houston for most errors in the majors.
David DeJesus put the A’s ahead when he scored on a safety squeeze bunt by Cliff Pennington in the second. Suzuki hit his third home run leading off the fourth.
Oakland third baseman Andy LaRoche did his part to keep himself in the lineup with a pair of base hits. He batted 6 for 11 during the four games with Texas.
A’s center fielder Coco Crisp had the day off as a precaution after he returned Sunday from a three-game absence with tightness in his left hamstring.
Lee Greenwood’s ”Proud to Be An American” blared between the first and second innings a day after President Barack Obama announced the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden. A’s public address announcer Dick Callahan asked fans to ”Raise their Budweisers” in appreciation for those who serve our country. One female fan sported a short-sleeved flag shirt.
Notes: Rangers RHPs Tommy Hunter and Neftali Feliz will be sent on rehab assignment to Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. Hunter, on the 15-day disabled list all season with a right groin strain sustained in spring training, got through a bullpen session Monday at extended spring training in Arizona with no issues. He will start for the RoughRiders on Wednesday and go three or four innings. Feliz threw a bullpen in Oakland. Sidelined since April 23 with right shoulder inflammation, he will pitch an inning of relief Wednesday for Frisco. … Injured A’s closer Andrew Bailey (strained forearm) will throw to hitters on the field Wednesday. … Oakland LHP starter Dallas Braden played catch for the first time since being placed on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury April 18. … The rare Monday matinee drew an announced attendance of only 9,193.