ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Derek Norris and the Oakland Athletics were hurting after their latest game with the Texas Rangers.
The A's couldn't seize the momentum after Chris Young's go-ahead homer, catcher Norris had to leave the game after being hit by a foul tip and the AL West leaders lost 9-4 Wednesday night at Texas.
Right after Young's three-run homer put the A's ahead, Tommy Milone (6-7) allowed consecutive singles to the bottom two batters in the Texas lineup to start the fifth. David Murphy scored the tying run on Ian Kinsler's deep sacrifice fly and Leonys Martin raced home on a grounder for the go-ahead run.
``Chris hits a big home run and that's a big momentum shift in the game, because it didn't look like Tommy had his best stuff, we weren't swinging the bats as well,' manager Bob Melvin said. ``It just seemed like it was their game for a bit, and now all of a sudden we're ahead.'
Milone, who was 3-1 his previous six starts, allowed six runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings.
``It is really important you go out there and shut it down. Now Tommy has done that many times for us this year,' Melvin said. ``It just didn't happen tonight.'
Rangers rookie Justin Grimm (6-5) walked Josh Reddick, a .206 hitter, before a wild pitch and then a walk to No. 9 hitter Eric Sogard.
Young, hitting only .186 but in the leadoff spot while Coco Crisp and John Jaso got a night out of the starting lineup, then homered onto the hill in straightaway center field for a 3-2 lead.
The A's didn't have a runner get past first base before that quick outburst. But their lead didn't last long after Grimm's last pitch.
When Nelson Cruz hit a grounder in the bottom of the fifth, Martin immediately took off from third base toward home.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson's throw was to the first base-side of the plate, and by time Norris caught it and reached back to try to apply a tag, Martin had slid past him and reached back with his hand to touch the plate.
``I saw in my peripheral, I saw him running,' Donaldson said. ``I didn't think he was going to be running because of how hard the ball was hit. ... If I make the throw I normally do, he's out.'
Robinson Chirinos and Murphy had consecutive one-out singles in the sixth to chase Milone, who allowed six runs and eight hits. Martin and Kinsler greeted reliever Dan Otero with consecutive RBI singles.
Jaso, who was getting a break before Thursday's day game, had to come in after Norris got hit by a foul tip off Adrian Beltre's bat in the sixth. Norris went down to his knees and stayed in that position for several minutes before being helped off the field.
``Any time you get hit in the you-know-what, it's not the best feeling in the world,' Norris said. ``I've had my share of shots in that area being behind the plate, but that was by far the worse pain I've ever been in. ... Still feeling it pretty good.'
When play resumed, Beltre had an RBI double for an 8-3 lead.
Norris said he was still standing after initially getting hit, but then he felt the pain.
``I kind of lost the feeling in my legs, so I went down and it just gradually got worse and worse over the next few minutes. If I can't perform the way I need to perform for these guys, especially out there on the mound, I'm going to come out of the ballgame,' he said. ``I don't really know what else to say except I hope it'll feel better in the morning.'
Cruz, hitting third for the first time this season in Texas manager Washington's 50th different batting order in 72 games, had three hits and drove in two runs. Lance Berkman homered.
Rangers starting pitchers had gone 17 consecutive games without a win since Derek Holland beat Kansas City on May 31. The team's previous longest such stretch was 16 in a row in 1975.
They scored nine runs for the first time since a 9-5 win over Arizona on May 30. Their 14 hits were the most since a night later against Kansas City in the game Holland won.
Texas opened the four-game series with an 8-7 win Monday night. That snapped a six-game losing streak when the Rangers scored only a combined eight runs.
With only their fourth win in 14 games, the Rangers pulled within two games of Oakland. The A's will go for a split in the finale of the four-game series Thursday, but will leave Texas still in first place regardless of what happens.
Grimm allowed three hits and the runs on the homer. The right-hander struck out three and walked three.
``He got us five and kept us in the game. That's all we ask,' Washington said. ``We were able to do the rest for him.'
NOTES: Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland completed a three-game rehabilitation assignment going 6 for 9 with three doubles and a homer for Double-A Frisco. He is eligible to be reinstated Friday for the opener of a three-game series at St. Louis. ... Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito threw the ceremonial first pitch. ... Oakland is 5-6 its last 11 games. ... Berkman's homer was a two-run shot in the second, his sixth of the season.
The Associated Press News Service
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