Brandon McCarthy thought he had a double play. Instead, the Texas Rangers had a successful squeeze bunt and the lead, and the Oakland A's had a mess on their hands.
The A's bounced back from the disputed sequence that ended with manager Bob Melvin ejected and McCarthy in the dugout, and Kila Ka'aihue had a tiebreaking single in the 10th inning to give Oakland a 5-4 victory against Texas on Thursday.
After Mitch Moreland's second home run off McCarthy tied the score in the sixth inning, the Rangers took the lead when speedster Craig Gentry broke from third as Elvis Andrus popped up a bunt between the mound and home plate. McCarthy thought he caught the ball on the fly and threw to third for what he figured would be a double play, but home plate umpire Laz Diaz ruled he trapped it. Gentry was ruled safe for a 4-3 Texas lead, and Oakland didn't get anybody out.
Melvin ran from the dugout to argue, gesturing repeatedly at Diaz before he was finally thrown out. Replays were inconclusive.
"I threw the ball to third. Then he said I trapped it. I said, `What?' and sort of flew off the handle," McCarthy said. "I was pretty furious once the disbelief set in."
Reliever Grant Balfour replaced McCarthy after the disputed bunt and didn't give up a run even though the Rangers had men at second and third with one out. Oakland then tied the score again in the seventh on Josh Reddick's 10th home run. The shot into the Rangers bullpen in right-center field ended Texas reliever Alexi Ogando's scoreless streak at 15 1-3 innings.
"That was a huge momentum swing," Melvin said. "They have the lead, with guys who have had a lot of success in the bullpen. It was a huge pick-me-up for us."
The Rangers had runners at first and third with one out in the ninth but couldn't score off Ryan Cook (1-0), who picked up his first major league win and has 19 2-3 scoreless innings this season, most among AL relievers.
Michael Young reached on a two-base error by Josh Donaldson and went to third on a groundout. Nelson Cruz struck out between intentional walks to David Murphy and Mike Napoli, then Brandon Snyder grounded out with the bases loaded. Texas ended up stranding 14 runners.
"That situation with a man on second and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, you just have to figure out a way to let nobody score," Cook said.
Ka'aihue's winning hit off Mike Adams (0-2) drove in Jonny Gomes, who had three hits.
Moreland pulled Texas to 3-2 with a two-run homer just over the left field fence in fourth and tied it with a deeper shot to right in the sixth. He has six homers.
Josh Hamilton watched both of those from the dugout and was supposed to have the day off. He came on as a pinch-hitter and stayed in the game in center field. He made the first out in the eighth and 10th innings, ending his AL-best 16-game hitting streak.
Moreland never got a chance for a third home run. Manager Ron Washington decided to replace him in the seventh with Snyder when Oakland went to left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto. Snyder flied out to right with the go-ahead run at second and ended up missing on two chances to give to the Rangers the lead.
"I always want to play," Moreland said. "He's the manager. He makes the decision."
McCarthy gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings, with three walks and four strikeouts.
Matt Harrison allowed the first five batters to reach base in a three-run Oakland first inning before pitching four shutout frames. He allowed at least one hit in all five innings, then was replaced by Mark Lowe after striking out Ka'aihue to start the sixth.
Harrison allowed eight hits and three runs in 5 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Kurt Suzuki had a two-run double in the first for Oakland after Gomes drove in the first run with a double.
NOTES: Oakland put 3B Brandon Inge on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin. The move was retroactive to Sunday. He started the season on the DL when he was still with Detroit. That time it was a strained left groin. ... Inge's replacement, Adam Rosales, started at 1B after getting recalled from Triple-A Sacramento and reached base in all four at-bats, his first of the season. He had three walks and a single. ... Oakland's Jemile Weeks was caught stealing on Harrison's pickoff move in the first inning, ending Oakland's streak of 20 straight successful stolen bases. That was two shy of the club record. ... RHP Joe Nathan pitched on three consecutive days for the first time since joining the Rangers. He had a perfect ninth.