Napoli's slam helps lift Rangers over A's 8-5

BY foxsports • July 9, 2011

C.J. Wilson has high standards. Pitching seven effective innings didn't satisfy the Texas Rangers All-Star left-hander.

Wilson allowed four runs and five hits with eight strikeouts, and got early support from Mike Napoli's first-inning grand slam off Gio Gonzalez as the Rangers stretched their winning streak to five games with an 8-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night, a night after a fan was killed in a fall while catching a foul ball.

Wilson (9-3) won his fifth straight decision to tie Alexi Ogando for the team lead in wins, but he was critical of himself for allowing three walks and hitting a batter, saying, ''I should have been dominant.''

Still, Wilson played a pivotal role as the Rangers matched their second-longest winning streak of the season.

''I'm disappointed in myself for the line score but I'm happy for the team for the win,'' said Wilson, who did think he had a live fastball. ''It was like the hardest I've thrown all year,'' he said.

Josh Hamilton, who tossed the ball to the fan on Thursday night, hit a fan with a foul ball off his bat in the sixth inning. The teenage male fan had blood on his face and was tended to by stadium personnel before he walked away, smiling while he held a compress to his head.

Rangers officials said the fan was treated at the stadium and was OK. They didn't identify him or provide additional details.

''I saw it happen,'' Hamilton said. ''Again.''

Hamilton said the fan didn't appear to be paying attention to the field when the ball struck him.

Both teams were still dealing with the aftermath of the death of the fan from a 20-foot fall in the second inning of Thursday night's 6-0 Texas victory.

''You have a job to do,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''Both sides are equal there. We both had heavy hearts. That's moot. Both teams had to deal with it.''

Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone tumbled over a railing after catching a foul ball tossed into the stands by Hamilton.

Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre also homered off Gonzalez (8-6), Oakland's lone All-Star.

Hamilton was in the starting lineup despite the emotional 24 hours, going 1 for 5.

Before the game, the teams observed a moment of silence in Stone's memory. Both teams wore black ribbons on their uniform tops.

The temperature at first pitch was 105 degrees, highest in the 18-year history of Rangers Ballpark.

The A's have lost five of seven.

Gonzalez had few answers for a slugging Rangers lineup that has outscored opponents 44-16 during the five-game winning streak. He lasted a season-low four innings, giving up seven runs - only three earned - and seven hits.

Gonzalez consistently fell behind hitters, and he had to throw fastballs when he didn't want to.

''In situations where I had to go after them, I had to pitch in their count,'' Gonzalez said. ''You have to get ahead of these guys. Got to pound that strike zone. It's a good lineup, especially in this ballpark. You've got to give credit where credit is due and these guys are a good hitting team.''

Gonzalez entered the night with a 4-1 record and 2.18 ERA in nine career appearances against the Rangers. Gonzalez had good fortune on his side in his previous start at Texas on May 11 when he gave up seven runs in 2 2-3 innings, but the game was postponed by heavy rain.

The Rangers jumped on Gonzalez with a five-run first highlighted by Napoli's third career grand slam.

Texas scored the game's first run when Oakland shortstop Adam Rosales made a fielding error on Beltre's hot grounder. Michael Young reached on an infield single that rolled just inside the third base foul line to load the bases, and after Nelson Cruz struck out, Napoli ripped Gonzalez's first pitch into the left field seats for his 12th homer of the season.

Oakland's Scott Sizemore hit a solo homer in the second, the first long ball allowed by Wilson since Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce on May 31, a span of 44 1-3 innings.

The Rangers continued the power display in the second on bases-empty homers by Kinsler and Beltre for a 7-1 advantage.

Oakland's first three hitters reached in the fourth on two walks and a single, and Coco Crisp scored from third on Conor Jackson's double-play grounder to make it 7-2.

Yorvit Torrealba's RBI single in the fifth restored Texas' six-run lead.

The A's cut the deficit to 8-4 in the sixth on Crisp's RBI infield single and Josh Willingham's run-scoring double, but Wilson struck out the final three batters in the inning.

Notes: The previous record temperature at Rangers Ballpark was 103 in 2008. ... Napoli had Texas' second grand slam of the season. Beltre hit one on April 2 vs. Boston. Mitch Moreland also had a bases-loaded homer on May 11, but the stats were washed away by the rainout. ...Major League Baseball announced that Beltre will be the AL starter at 3B because Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees is out of the game.