Rangers drop third straight in Oakland

Rangers drop third straight in Oakland

OAKLAND -- The "shutdown" inning proved elusive for Vicente Padilla on Wednesday, and the Rangers' losing streak is now at three.

On a night when the Rangers found their offense, Padilla couldn't make that run support stand up in the crucial moments and ended up losing to the Oakland Athletics, 7-5, at the Coliseum.

The big blow was a two-run home run by Adam Kennedy off Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz with two outs in the sixth inning. But that was just the fourth of four home runs hit by the Athletics. The other three came off Padilla, who allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings and is now 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA on the season.

"We did need some shutdown innings, and it didn't happen," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That happens in the game of baseball. But we did need some shutdown innings."

Instead, the Rangers were unable to take advantage of two more losses by both the Angels and the Red Sox. They remain 4 1/2 games behind the Angels in the American League West and three behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race.

"We're too good of a team to let a couple of bad games ruin what we've done," third baseman Michael Young said. "We'll make a couple of adjustments, and we'll get better."

David Murphy gave the Rangers a lift with two home runs, Josh Hamilton was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games. But the Rangers lost for only the seventh time in 55 games in which they've scored five or more runs.

"It's tough to lose three games in a row, especially when we were in this game and showed a lot of fight," Murphy said. "I felt we made some adjustments over the past few games. Today ... I just had one of those feelings that I thought we were going to win."

They didn't.

Padilla put the Rangers behind in the bottom of the first when he gave up a two-run home run to Scott Hairston. He also hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch, which caused some ill feelings. Oakland starter Chad Reineke, holding a 2-1 lead, retaliated in the third inning when he hit Young, causing home-plate umpire Bob Davidson to warn both benches.

After Young got plunked, Murphy hit one off the right-field foul pole for a two-run home run that gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead. But that didn't last long. Four pitches into the bottom of the third inning and the Athletics had the game tied.

Rajai Davis hit the first pitch down the left-field line for a double. With Hairston at the plate, he moved to third on catcher Taylor Teagarden's passed ball. Hairston followed with a sacrifice fly to right that brought home the tying run.

Before the inning was over, Suzuki smashed his eighth home run of the season to give the Athletics a 4-3 lead. Cliff Pennington, the Athletics' No. 9 hitter, also homered in the fourth to make it 5-3.

"A couple of times he got the ball up," Teagarden said. "Golly, he had a good sinker going but he left a few over the plate. ... Oakland definitely brought their A game offensively."

The Rangers were able to come back and tie it up. Murphy hit his second home run in the fifth. Hank Blalock doubled in the sixth and scored off a pair of fly balls by Andruw Jones and Hamilton, making it 5-5.

Again, the Athletics didn't let it stay that way for long, even though Padilla was facing the bottom of their order in the sixth. He got Ryan Sweeney to fly out before Mark Ellis doubled to left-center. Padilla struck out Pennington, but that was the end of his night.

Washington decided to bring in rookie Neftali Feliz to face Kennedy. Two nights earlier, Feliz struck out Kennedy in his Major League debut. In fact, Kennedy was the first batter Feliz faced.

"After Padilla got Pennington, I thought he had been extended as far as we needed him to go," Washington said.

This time the results were totally different. Kennedy jumped on a 1-0 fastball and hit it over the right-field wall for a two-run homer.

"The difference [from Monday] was swinging at strikes," Kennedy said. "I was swinging at balls the other night. I made him get it in the zone tonight, and I got a good swing on it."

"Middle up," Teagarden said. "We were trying to go fastball down and away, and he was geared up for it. A guy throws that hard, if you make decent contact, it's going to go a long way. He was ready for it."

Padilla declined to comment after the game. But there was nothing ambiguous or needed explanation about this one and what went wrong.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.