May 12: Texas 5, Oakland 4 (11 innings)
Chief Bender was in control heading into the bottom of the ninth with a 4-1 lead. Things looked even better after he recorded an out, plunked A-Rod, and got the second out. But then Juan Gonzalez singled in Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre doubled and suddenly the tying run was on second base. Dennis Eckersley came in to try to save the game and Bender’s butt, but pinch-hitting Josh Hamilton singled in the tying runs.
Five Texas relievers combined for three scoreless innings of relief. It looked as though Francisco Cordero had lost the game for the Rangers after he loaded the bases with zero outs in the top of the 11th, but C. J. Wilson came in to strikeout Jason Giambi, and John Wetteland followed up with a strikeout to Al Simmons and groundout to Jimmie Foxx to pull off the Houdini.
In the bottom of the 11th, Rafael Palmeiro led off with a single against Justin Duchscherer, Juan Gonzalez walked, and Adrian Beltre hit into a double play that pushed Palmeiro to third. Josh Hamilton became the hero for the second time by singling for the walk-off win.
R H BB OAK 002 000 002 00 - 4 14 3 TEX 000 001 003 01 - 5 8 4 HR: J. Giambi (6) starters IP R ER HR BB SO C. Bender 8.2 4 4 0 2 3 G. Perry 8.0 4 4 1 1 3 OAK 22-12, TEX 18-16
May 13: Oakland 10, Texas 7 (12 innings)
Next it was Oakland’s turn to pull of a dramatic, extra-innings comeback. Texas built up a 7-2 lead through six innings, but the A’s scored eight unanswered runs over the next six innings. Neftali Feliz tried to save a 7-5 lead in the ninth, but walked his first batter and watched Mickey Cochrane drill a tying homer next. It was Cochrane’s second shot of the day, and one of five Athletics homers.
Cochrane had a perfect day at the plate with a walk and single to go with his dongs, but was taken out of the game after Rafael Palmeiro led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. The Rangers were taking second base at will against Cochrane’s +2 arm, having gone 11-for-11 on steal attempts in the first two games, so in came Terry Steinbach and his -2 arm. The move payed off immediately as Palmeiro stayed at first and Ivan Rodriguez grounded into a double play.
Francisco Cordero’s luck getting off the hook after loading the bases the previous day didn’t hold after he put two batters on in the top of the 12th and Jimmie Foxx drove a three run homer. Eckersley preserved the three run lead with a scoreless bottom of the 12th.
R H BB OAK 000 200 122 003 - 10 10 5 TEX 010 213 000 000 - 7 13 8 HR: J. Giambi (7), J. Foxx (8), H.R. Baker (1), M. Cochrane-2 (3), A. Rodriguez (9) starters IP R ER HR BB SO B. Zito 5.2 7 7 1 5 6 F. Jenkins 7.1 5 5 3 2 7 OAK 23-12, TEX 18-17
May 14: Texas 11, Oakland 8
Oakland tried to make it three straight insane comebacks as they mounted a three run rally in the ninth to draw within three runs, but John Wetteland put an end to the nonsense by striking out Home Run Baker to end the game and wrap up an impressive series win for the Rangers. Nolan Ryan’s final line of eight allowed in 8.2 innings wasn’t good, but he was almost untouchable in the second through eighth innings after giving up five in the first inning.
Luckily for him, Oakland’s Rube Waddell had his first disaster start of the year. The Rangers couldn’t stop scoring in an eight-run third inning highlighted by a Hamilton homer. Juan Gonzalez had a career day with a single, double, and two triples.
R H BB OAK 500 000 003 - 8 8 7 TEX 018 002 00x - 11 11 5 HR: R. Henderson (5), R. Jackson (7), J. Hamilton (4) starters IP R ER HR BB SO R. Waddell 1.2 8 8 0 2 4 N. Ryan 8.2 8 8 2 6 7 OAK 23-13, TEX 19-17