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OAK@TEX: Murphy's two-run single breaks the tie

ARLINGTON -- Big innings are nothing new to the Rangers. But the way they rallied past the A's Thursday was a bit unconventional.

Despite hitting only one ball out of the infield, the Rangers batted around and scored four times in the fifth inning. That marked the fourth time in five games the Rangers had scored at least four runs in an inning.

It also allowed Scott Feldman, who started in place of an injured Colby Lewis, to pick up a victory in his second straight start as the Rangers beat the Athletics, 7-6, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday.

Trailing 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers reached base five straight times without a ball leaving the infield. Leonys Martin led off with the first of four walks the Rangers drew in the inning. He stole second, moved to third on Ian Kinsler's swinging bunt single, and scored on Elvis Andrus' infield single up the middle.

"We'll take it however we can," Adrian Beltre said. "We're not going to hit home runs every game. Today, we used walks and slow rollers, anything we could take. We just need to win ballgames."

Oakland starter Tyson Ross walked Josh Hamilton before issuing a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Beltre that tied the game at 4. Then, David Murphy put the Rangers up for good.

With the bases still loaded and nobody out, Michael Young fouled out to first and Nelson Cruz struck out swinging. But Murphy, who homered twice in Wednesday's win over the Tigers, singled sharply through the right side of the infield to give the Rangers a 6-4 lead.

"Once we tied the game and Murphy got that big hit with the bases loaded and two outs, it was our game," Kinsler said. "We were able to generate runs in other ways, stealing bases and taking the extra base any way we could. We were able to push a bunch of runs across."

"Any time you get a lead, you want to keep it, especially against a team whose offense is so good," Ross said. "I gotta be better than that and battle. I can't have leadoff walks. That really just came back to bite me in the butt."

Feldman, who went winless in his first seven starts this season, improved to 2-6 Thursday. He gave up three solo home runs in the first three innings of the game as the A's took an early 4-1 lead. But Feldman settled down, holding the A's scoreless over his final two innings. He gave up four runs on a season-high nine hits over five innings, striking out three and walking one.

"Any time we get behind, I think it's pretty easy to not get too worried because of the type of offense we have," Feldman said. "They showed it again tonight, coming back like that. They did a great job of getting back those runs that I gave up in the third. They just did an outstanding job."

Feldman took the mound in the sixth, but was replaced by Tanner Scheppers after allowing two straight singles. Scheppers got Derek Norris to ground into a 4-6-3 double play and Cliff Pennington flied out to center to end the threat.

"Tanner came in there in the sixth and shut it down," Washington said. "They jumped out 4-1 and [Feldman] just kept us around and we finally put something together. We battled. It was a battle tonight, for every pitcher that went out there."

Mike Adams pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Joe Nathan stranded runners on the corners in the ninth to earn his 18th save in 19 chances this season. With men on first and third and one out, he struck out Seth Smith during an at-bat that saw Smith swing at a pitch that hit his leg. Instead of loading the bases and putting the winning run in scoring position with one out, Nathan fanned Smith and got Brandon Inge to ground out to Andrus and end the game.

"He's never fazed by anything," Washington said of his closer. "If they get him, he shows up the next day ready to get them. He's never fazed by anything. He just keeps pitching."

The Rangers won for the 11th time in 13 games and passed the Yankees for the best record in the Major Leagues. At 48-29, the Rangers are a season-high 19 games above .500 and hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the AL West.

The Rangers tied a season high with four stolen bases, two of them by Kinsler, and drew seven walks, all between the fourth and seventh innings.

Thursday's series-opening win lasted three hours and 54 minutes, marking the Rangers' longest nine-inning game of the year. It was the second-longest game of any kind this year for the Rangers, behind only a 13-inning, four-hour, 36-minute win over the Blue Jays on May 26.

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