OAKLAND -- Manager Ron Washington, before Friday's game, wasn't sure if Jorge Cantu would start at first base on Saturday. But after Friday's 10-3 victory over the A's, Washington was ready to get Cantu back out there.
Cantu was 1-for-3 with a double, and also made two excellent defensive plays in the third inning when the Rangers were only up, 1-0.
"He saved us defensively," Washington said. "It's not always offense. He has been doing a great job at first base since we got him."
Jeremy Hermida led off the third inning with a single, and Cliff Pennington followed with a hard grounder right at Cantu. He made the grab, stepped on first and then got Hermida in a rundown to complete the double play. Mark Ellis then hit a sharp grounder down the first-base line, and Cantu made a terrific diving stop to get the third out of the inning.
"I take a lot of pride in my defense," Cantu said. "Defense wins a lot of games, too."
So Cantu, a right-handed hitter, was back in the lineup for a third straight day with a left-hander, Gio Gonzalez, on the mound for the Athletics. He is trying to reinforce the Rangers' confidence in including him on the postseason roster as their right-handed-hitting first baseman. He is currently hitting .203 (15-for-74) with no home runs or RBIs in 24 games with the Rangers since he was acquired from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline, but still may be their best option against left-handed pitching.
"I'm just trying to get on a roll," Cantu said. "All I can do is get ready for the playoffs. I've made a lot of progress, and I'm just trying to carry it into the game."