OAKLAND, Calif. — — Brent Rooker added to an already impressive first season with the Athletics by delivering the first game-ending hit of his career to snap Oakland’s five-game losing streak.
Rooker launched a three-run homer off Brock Burke in the bottom of the 10th inning, rallying the A’s to a 9-7 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
“That was really cool. It’s something you dream of as a kid growing up,” Rooker said. “That’s something I’ll always remember.”
Esteury Ruiz homered and drove in four runs for Oakland. Kevin Smith and Carlos Pérez also connected for the major league-worst A’s (9-31), who won on a walk-off hit for the third time this season.
This one came after Rangers pinch-hitter Adolis García delivered a go-ahead single off Zach Jackson in the top of the 10th. Former A’s shortstop Marcus Semien followed with an RBI single to give Texas a two-run lead before Oakland came back.
“For either team, losing that game is a heartbreak,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “You could have easily saw an offense go out there in that (10th) inning and lay down and just gone through the motions, but that didn’t happen. They continue to show their fight. For Rook, what a moment. We’re fortunate to have him in this lineup.”
Robbie Grossman, the veteran Texas outfielder who spent two seasons with the A’s, homered and had an RBI double in front of another small crowd of 6,575 at the Coliseum. Jonah Heim added two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Ezequiel Duran doubled twice.
“Just one of those games,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We just couldn’t quite get that big hit to put it out of reach. We kept putting up one run. We were missing that crooked number, and had some men on base there.”
Ruiz’s RBI single off Burke (2-1) drove in Nick Allen, who began the 10th inning as the automatic runner at second base. JJ Bleday added another single before Rooker’s 11th home run. The 28-year-old outfielder was mobbed by teammates as he crossed home plate.
“That’s probably close to as good and clean as I can hit a ball,” said Rooker, who went into the game leading the majors in OPS (1.072) and slugging percentage. “That one felt good. I took a couple of his best fastballs and I was able to foul them off. At that point I felt pretty comfortable that I was going to at least be able to hit something hard.”
The A’s forced extra innings after trailing 5-4 in the eighth. Ruiz, who homered on Martín Peréz’s first pitch of the game, singled in Jace Peterson with the tying run.
Shintaro Fujinami (1-4) retired two batters for his first career win.
The loss prevented the AL West-leading Rangers (23-15) from matching their best record through 38 games since 2013.
The frantic ending came after Peréz’s uneven night. Peréz allowed a home run to Ruiz on his first pitch and gave up two others, matching his career high. The left-hander permitted eight hits in five innings with three strikeouts.
Texas trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before Grossman’s RBI double in the fourth drove in Bubba Thompson. Semien was thrown out at the plate on the play after third base coach Tony Beasley put up the stop sign before waving him home.
A’s starter Ken Waldichuk struck out five in five innings but allowed seven hits and four runs (three earned) with five walks.
Athletics: RHP Adrián Martínez (right elbow) was scheduled to throw 35-45 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas. … Ramón Laureano cleared concussion protocol and started in left field.
Rangers RHP Jon Gray (2-1, 3.82 ERA) starts Saturday and is coming off his best outing of the season, when he allowed one run and four hits over seven innings against Seattle on Monday. Athletics LHP JP Sears (0-3, 5.54) is seeking his first win in four career starts against Texas.
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