Nevin ends 0-for-17 slump with two-out homer in ninth

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- With all his teammates waiting at home
plate, Phil Nevin slammed his batting helmet to the ground and
jumped into the middle of the celebration.

"It's awesome," Texas' designated hitter said. "I don't think
I've ever been that emotional on a baseball field. ... It's a great
feeling. You round third and the whole team is waiting for you."

With one swing of the bat Thursday night, Nevin gave the Rangers
an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics and shook off an
offensive drought that has been so bad he didn't even play the
previous two games.

Nevin's homer to center field with two outs in the bottom of the
ninth inning came off Huston Street (1-2). It snapped an 0-for-17
slump and was the first ball Nevin hit over the fence in 22 games.
His last homer came a month ago Thursday, when he hit his seventh --
the most he ever had in April.

"I feel great for him. He's a veteran guy who wants to win and
contribute," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "Tonight, he

Oakland, which blew a seven-run lead for only the third time in
franchise history, has lost six straight.

Rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler, who came off the disabled
list earlier Thursday, homered twice for Texas. His second homer
tied the game at 7 in the eighth.

That was about the same time Showalter went to Nevin and told
him that the Rangers were going to win. And likely assure Nevin,
already 0-for-4 with a strikeout, that he wouldn't be lifted for a
pinch hitter.

"Obviously, I haven't had a lot of at-bats lately," Nevin
said. "To get into one like that was a heck of a moment. You just
handle things and keep working hard. I want to be part of this
group and win here."

Rod Barajas hit a grand slam and Mark Teixeira also homered for
the Rangers (24-23), who lead the AL West by two games over Oakland
(22-25). Three more games remain in the weekend series.

"You can never score enough runs in this ballpark. In this
ballpark, you never know what's going to happen," said Nick
Swisher, who went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer for the A's. "It's
a tough loss. Luck isn't on our side."

Rangers closer Akinori Otsuka (1-1) worked a perfect top of the

Kinsler, who missed six weeks because of a dislocated left
thumb, went 3-for-4. His first homer came in the sixth right after
Barajas hit his second career grand slam to chase Oakland starter
Brad Halsey.

"To have a game like this is outstanding, not just personally,
but to pull it out as a team," Kinsler said. "I hope people don't
expect this out of me every night."

In nine games this season, Kinsler is hitting .520 (13-for-25)
with three homers. He got hurt on a stolen base attempt April 11.

Oakland built a 7-0 lead in five innings in another bad home
start for Kevin Millwood.

Millwood gave up nine runs in 1 1-3 innings against Minnesota
his last home start May 9, and the right-hander, who got a $60
million, five-year deal from Texas last winter, is 1-3 with a 7.76
ERA in six home starts. He allowed only two runs in 14 innings in
his last two starts, on the road against the New York Yankees and

The A's led 3-0 in the second after Frank Thomas had an RBI
single and Bobby Kielty a two-run double. Dan Johnson snapped an
0-for-11 skid in the fourth with an RBI single that made it 4-0.

After Kielty's double, one fan yelled "Come on Chan Ho!" -- a
reference to the last big-contract pitcher the Rangers had. Chan Ho
Park made only 68 starts in 3½ injury-plagued seasons after signing
a $65 million, five-year contract with the Rangers, who traded him
to San Diego last season for Nevin.

When Kielty hit another double with two outs in the eighth, Adam
Melhuse was thrown out trying to score from first. Melhuse argued
that he beat the throw with a head-first slid, but a replay showed
clearly that Barajas tagged him on the fingertips just before he
touched the plate.

Halsey didn't allow a run until Barajas hit the grand slam set
up by two singles, a walk and a fielder's choice. Kinsler then
homered off reliever Steve Karsay.

"It was an elevated fastball, a safe pitch in that situation if
you execute the pitch," Halsey said.

Teixeira led off the seventh with his fifth homer.

Halsey, making his fifth start for injured Rich Harden, allowed
four runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings. He struck out two and
walked four, three in the first inning when the Rangers failed to
score because of a baserunning mistake.

Leadoff hitter Gary Matthews Jr. was on third base with one out
when Nevin hit a flyball to right. Matthews was halfway down the
line when the ball was caught, and was unable to get back to tag up
and score. Kevin Mench then flied out to end the inning.

Game notes
Barajas' other career grand slam came on April 20, 2005, at
Tampa Bay. ... The A's are 4-6 midway through a stretch of 20 games
in 20 days.