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Big first sends Texas to twin-bill sweep

Big first sends Texas to twin-bill sweep

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers swept Friday's doubleheader from the Athletics. They took the first game, 6-3, and the second, 5-2.

"Two very efficient ballgames," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We had great defense, clutch hitting. That's a lot of fun.

"It's huge because they're in our division. I always believe we have to play well in our division."

The Rangers scored four times in the first inning of the second game. Ian Kinsler led off the frame with a walk two batters before Josh Hamilton scored him with a double. Hank Blalock hit a double of his own to score Hamilton.

The A's decided to intentionally walk Chris Davis, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the first game, to face Taylor Teagarden. The move backfired when Teagarden singled to score two runs. Teagarden scored the Rangers' fifth run in the fourth inning on a Michael Young sacrifice fly.

The Athletics scored in the third inning when Matt Holliday made a smart play on the basepaths. Jason Giambi laced a hard-hit grounder to Davis, who stepped on first and threw to second base. Holliday allowed himself to be caught in a rundown while Orlando Cabrera scored from third. The run counted because Cabrera touched the plate before Holliday was tagged out and the third out was not a force.

Holliday scored the Athletics' first run of the game.

Davis continued his struggles at the plate. He went 0-for-7 with six strikeouts over the doubleheader. The record is seven. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it has been accomplished five times, the last by Mike Vail on Sept. 26, 1975, with the New York Mets.

"There's no point about getting mad," Davis said. "It's part of the game. No point taking it out on a bat rack."

He plans to come to the ballpark early Saturday and put in some extra work.

"I think I'm close," Davis said. "I'm not going to put a timetable on it. I'm going to come in early tomorrow and look at video and make an adjustment.

"Obviously I gotta make some kind of adjustment."

He hasn't carried his struggles at the plate into the field. Davis made an excellent play on a foul pop in the seventh inning of the first game and on a hard-hit liner in the fourth inning of the second game.

When Davis flied out to deep center field, the crowd gave him a standing ovation, something not lost upon him.

"I thought it was funny," he said. "I was laughing about it."

Despite Davis' struggles, Washington doesn't plan to bench the first baseman. Over his last 11 games, Davis has struck out in 23 of 37 at-bats.

"Rest won't do him any good," Washington said. "What he needs is to see pitches. He's trying to let the ball come to him, and that's good."

Scott Feldman battled over six innings, allowing two earned runs on 104 pitches.

"There wasn't a single inning he worked that was easy," Washington said. "He worked pretty hard to get to the sixth."

Feldman said his mechanics were probably the cause of that.

"I don't know if I was repeating my mechanics," he said. "It took me a little longer to get to know where my stuff was going."

Feldman's previous victory at the Ballpark in Arlington came against the Athletics on May 9, 2008. He hadn't won at home over his last 13 starts, which was a team record.

The Rangers used a barrage of home runs to win the first game. Andruw Jones broke a late-inning 3-3 tie with a two run shot that bounced off the left-field foul pole. Nelson Cruz followed that with another home run. It was the third time the Rangers have gone back-to-back this season.

"Our guys know what [Jones] is capable of because he's done it for so long," Washington said. "Rudy [Jaramillo, the hitting coach] did a good job with him in Spring Training to get his confidence back."

Jones features a batting line of a .303 average, a .443 on-base percentage and a .605 slugging percent with five home runs in 23 games this season.

Tommy Hunter was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to pitch the first game when starting pitcher Matt Harrison was placed on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness. Hunter allowed three earned runs over 5 1/3 innings pitched before being optioned back to Triple-A between games.

Relief pitcher Guillermo Moscoso was called up to fill Hunter's spot on the 25-man roster. This is his first time in the Majors, and he has yet to make his Major League debut. (Moscoso pitched the second perfect game the New York-Penn League when he accomplished that feat on July 15, 2007.)

The Rangers are now 10 games over .500, the first time they have been so since May 31, 2005, with they beat the Detroit Tigers.

"It sounds great," Washington said. "I'd like to get to 15 and then 20."

Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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