Andruw homers as Rangers down A's
Andruw Jones was pretty sure his eighth-inning drive was going foul. He was happy he was wrong.
Jones hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 Friday in the first game of a doubleheader.
With the score 3-all, Santiago Casilla (1-2) walked Josh Hamilton leading off the eighth. Jones followed, pulling a 2-1 fastball off the screen on the left-field pole for his fifth homer.
"I thought I hit it kind of foul," Jones said. "I hooked it a little too fast. I was lucky enough to hit the foul pole. We'll take those when we get the chance."
Jones is trying to salvage a career that hit rock-bottom last season, when he hit .158 in 75 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Released by the Dodgers in January, the five-time All-Star signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in February. Jones has been a part-time player for the Rangers, seeing action primarily against left-handers. He's thriving with his new club, batting .303 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 23 games.
"I know what kind of player I am," Jones said. "I know I'm not done playing baseball. I'm happy to put (last season) behind me."
Rangers manager Ron Washington has used Jones at two outfield spots, at first base and as a DH.
"He brings presence," Washington said. "Guys know what he's capable of doing because he's done it for so long. He makes everybody around him better. He's more confident. He trusts himself a little more."
Nelson Cruz, who had three RBIs, followed Jones with his 13th homer to give the Rangers a 6-3 lead.
C.J. Wilson (2-2) worked a perfect eighth for the win. Frank Francisco pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances and 16th in a row over the last two seasons.
Marlon Byrd also homered for the Rangers, who've won five of seven.
Travis Buck homered and went 3 for 4 for the A's, who also got three hits from Adam Kennedy.
Buck has been slowed by strained muscle in his side, and the problem cropped up again during the game. Buck was ruled out of the second game.
Oakland got another strong performance from rookie left-hander Josh Outman, who struck out a career-high nine and allowed three runs and three hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Outman has given up five earned runs and 13 hits in his last 26 1-3 innings over four starts.
"What a great effort, a great job," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He gave up two hits through six innings with a lot of strikeouts. Even that pitch he threw to Byrd wasn't a terrible pitch."
Rangers starter Tommy Hunter, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier Friday for his first big league start this season, allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Hunter was returned to Oklahoma City after the game. Texas recalled right-hander Guillermo Moscoso from Double-A Frisco to replace Hunter.
Last season Hunter went 0-2 with a 16.36 ERA in three starts for Texas.
Left-hander Matt Harrison was placed in the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 26, due to left shoulder soreness, opening a roster spot for Hunter.
Cruz gave Texas the lead with a two-run double in the first.
Outman settled down, retiring 17 of 18 from the first through the seventh until Byrd's solo homer tied it at 3.
"The slider's been my strikeout pitch," Outman said. "It was good for me today 'til the one bad one to Byrd. It was a bad pitch, a hanging slider, and he was ready for it."
The game was the makeup of an April 29 rainout. ... Francisco hasn't given up a run in 17 2-3 innings this season. ... Rangers 1B Chris Davis went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. Davis leads the majors with 75 strikeouts, but Washington said he has no plans to bench Davis, putting him back in the lineup for the second game. "I'm not giving up on Chris," Washington said. "He's our first baseman." ... Oakland's Bobby Crosby pinch-hit for DH Jack Cust in the third. Cust, who flied out in the first, has been slowed by lower back spasms. Cust wasn't able to play in the second game. ...Byrd had gone 32 games without a homer until connecting in the seventh.