A'S 9, RANGERS 7
Sunday, March 16
Rangers at the plate:
Designated hitter Josh Hamilton drew two walks and doubled to extend his streak of reaching base in consecutive plate appearances to 13 before the streak ended with a strikeout. Hamilton was 10-for-10 with three walks during the streak. Catcher Gerald Laird opened the scoring for Texas, which trailed 4-0 after the first inning, with a two-run homer -- his fourth of the spring -- in the second. Outfielder Marlon Byrd tied it up with a two-run single in the third. David Murphy's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Ben Broussard gave Texas a 6-4 lead later in the frame, and Ian Kinsler added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
A's at the plate:
The A's offense was on fire from the outset, outfielder Emil Brown broke out of a 2-for-18 slump with a team-high three hits, and red-hot Todd Linden's RBI triple in the eighth helped Oakland score its sixth consecutive victory. Outfielder Chris Denorfia, coming off a 3-for-5 day during a split-squad game against the Padres on Saturday, singled to open the bottom of the first inning, moved to second on a one-out single by Brown and scored on a single by DH Jack Cust. Ryan Sweeney followed with an RBI double, and Donnie Murphy capped the early outburst with a two-run single. With the A's down 7-6 in the eighth, Dan Johnson drew a leadoff walk and scored on a throwing error before Linden, who entered the game batting .583 (14-for-24) this spring, provided the lead with a triple to left and scored on a groundout by Jack Hannahan.
Rangers on the mound:
Righty starter Sidney Ponson had a rocky first inning, giving up four runs on five hits, and he allowed another hit and walked two before being pulled with one out in the third inning. Reliever Kaz Fukumori saw his streak of Cactus League appearances without allowing an earned run end during his one inning of work.
A's on the mound:
Rookie lefty Gio Gonzalez looked fairly sharp until Laird's homer, and the wheels came off in the third, when he gave up three hits and walked two before getting the hook. The defense behind Gonzalez didn't help him, making two errors that led to two unearned runs. Gonzalez gave up four earned runs Rookie lefty Greg Smith, one of the candidates for the No. 5 spot in Oakland's starting rotation, came out of the bullpen and gave up one run on four hits and a walk over four innings. Smith has appeared in four Cactus League games and is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings.
Cactus League records:
Rangers 10-7-2; A's 14-5
Up next for the Rangers:
Righty Jason Jennings makes his fourth start of the spring for the Rangers against the Mariners at 3:05 p.m. CT on Monday in Surprise, Ariz. Jennings has a 1.17 ERA in Cactus League action and opponents are hitting .143 against him. Cha Seung Baek pitches for the Mariners.
Up next for the A's:
Rookie lefty Dana Eveland, another candidate for the No. 5 spot in Oakland's rotation, will try to strengthen his case on Monday when he starts against the visiting Royals, who will start righty Brian Bannister in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Eveland is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA over 10 innings in three Cactus League starts despite an opponents' batting average of .317.
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.