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Rangers edge A’s 5-4 to close AL West gap

April 23, 2014

OAKLAND, California (AP) — Texas’ Michael Choice singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning against his old team to lift the Rangers to a 5-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday, cutting the gap to the American League West leader to half a game.

Among the day’s other games, San Diego won a 12-inning struggle at majors-leading Milwaukee, Jose Fernandez pitched Miami to a shutout victory over Atlanta, and Colorado also won a tight defensive contest against San Francisco.

Oakland closer Luke Gregerson (0-1) blew his third save opportunity of the season, giving up two runs on three hits. He appeared to have pitched out of trouble when he threw out Mitch Moreland at the plate on a safety squeeze by Leonys Martin for the second out.

However Martin stole second and scored on a Josh Wilson double and next batter Choice — who began his career with the Athletics — then immediately hit the winner.

Wilson’s double made up for his fielding error in the fourth inning, which cost the Rangers two runs.

San Diego’s Chase Headley homered in the top of the 12th inning to give the Padres a 2-1 win at Milwaukee.

Headley’s homer off Alfredo Figaro (0-1) was one of the few mistakes from the mound among teams with two of the best staff ERAs in baseball.

Padres’ starter Ian Kennedy labored through six innings while Brewers counterpart Yovani Gallardo went seven strong innings before the bullpens took over, and San Diego relievers tossed six shutout innings.

Miami’s Jose Fernandez matched his career high with 14 strikeouts in eight innings to guide the Marlins to a 1-0 win over Atlanta.

Fernandez (3-1) outpitched Atlanta’s Alex Wood (2-3), who also was dominant. Wood allowed one run with no walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts in eight innings.

Steve Cishek pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the victory.

Colorado’s Nolan Arenado hit a go-ahead homer leading off the fifth inning and that held up as the winner in the Rockies’ 2-1 victory over San Francisco.

Franklin Morales (2-1) was masterful on the mound as he went seven innings, allowing only a solo homer, and he outdueled Giants’ starter Madison Bumgarner.

Troy Tulowitzki also added a solo shot for the Rockies, who have hit seven homers in two nights against the Giants.

St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright threw seven neat innings before leaving with a knee injury, steering the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the New York Mets.

Wainwright (4-1) faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings and outpitched Dillon Gee. It was the second consecutive scoreless start for Wainwright, who tossed a two-hit shutout last Thursday at Washington.

Jon Jay hit a two-run single for the Cardinals.

Philadelphia’s Domonic Brown doubled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning after a costly error by Los Angeles left fielder Carl Crawford, giving the Phillies a 3-2 win at the Dodgers.

Carlos Ruiz reached second base when his flyball to short left field glanced off Crawford’s glove as he nearly collided with shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Brown followed with a drive to the fence in left-centerfield off J.P. Howell (1-2).

There was better news for the Dodgers’ city rivals as Angels slugger Albert Pujols brought up 500 career homers in the 7-2 win at Washington.

Pujols drove in five runs with the two homers that made him the 26th man in majors history to reach 500. Three months after his 34th birthday, he’s the third-youngest to reach the milestone.

He connected twice off Taylor Jordan (0-3): a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth — to become the 26th player in major league history to reach the milestone.

New York’s Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and made a sliding catch in his return to Fenway Park, helping the Yankees beat his old team Boston 9-3.

Ellsbury received a mixed reception in his first game at Fenway since leaving the Red Sox to sign a $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka (3-0) allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. His 35 strikeouts in his first four major league starts set a team record and he’s walked just two batters in 29 1-3 innings.

Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera broke out of a slump with a two-run homer to help the Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 8-6.

Toronto’s Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera each hit three-run homers in the eighth inning to power the Blue Jays to a 9-3 win against Baltimore.

Tampa Bay’s David Price pitched his first complete game of the season, striking out 12, to guide the Rays to a 7-3 win over Minnesota.

Price’s old teammate James Shields was almost as dominant for Kansas City, striking out nine batters to help the Royals win 8-2 at Cleveland.

Cincinnati eased past struggling Pittsburgh 4-1, with Johnny Cueto pitching his second three-hitter against the Pirates in a week.

Houston’s Collin McHugh was impressive in his season debut, striking out a career-high 12 to lead the Astros to a 5-2 win over Seattle.

Chicago’s Jason Hammel pitched seven strong innings in the Cubs’ 9-2 victory over Arizona.

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