ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 05: An exterior view of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Dallas Braden pitched a four-hitter for his second career shutout, Daric Barton homered and the Oakland Athletics cut a game off Texas' big lead in the AL West with a 5-0 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.
Braden (9-9) had been 4-7 since his perfect game against Tampa Bay on May 9, but the left-hander was in command from the start of this one. He didn't walk a batter and let only one runner reach third base.
The Rangers were shut out for only the third time this season and first at Rangers Ballpark. They still hold an 8½-game edge over the second-place A's, largest among the six major league divisions. The teams have five games against each other, including Sunday's series finale.
Braden struck out in his fifth complete game of the season and for his career.
Oakland's Kurt Suzuki matched a career high with four hits. Barton was 2 for 3, reached base four times and scored a career-high four runs.
Josh Hamilton went 1 for 4 for Texas as his major league-high average fell one percentage point to .357.
Rangers starter Rich Harden (5-5) allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings after the former Athletic pitched 6 2-3 no-hit innings against Minnesota in his previous start Monday.
Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI single in the first gave Oakland a 1-0 lead, and Barton lofted an 0-1 pitch into the right field seats for a two-run homer in the third. That gave Barton an 11-game hitting streak, matching his career high.
Suzuki's bloop single in the fifth drove in Barton, who had doubled, and Oakland had a 4-0 pad.
When Harden issued a one-out walk to Jack Cust in the fifth, manager Ron Washington brought in left-hander Derek Holland, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day.
NOTES: The Rangers put RHP Frank Francisco on the 15-day DL after he reinjured his right ribcage during Friday night's game. Holland takes Francisco's place in the bullpen. An MRI revealed inflammation in a muscle in Francisco's side and he will be shut down until he shows improvement. ... Oakland LHP Brett Anderson experienced no swelling in his hyperextended right knee and is on schedule to make his normal start on Wednesday. Anderson was removed from Friday night's start prior to the third inning after his right foot landed in a hole on the mound during his follow through on a pitch in the second. Anderson fell awkwardly and the A's were concerned that the injury might be serious. ... 2B Alex Cora went 1 for 3 in his first appearance for Texas. Cora signed a minor league contract with the Rangers on Aug. 18, a week after being released by the New York Mets, and was called up from Oklahoma City on Tuesday. ... Suzuki had his second four-hit game of the season, fifth of his career.