- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Tim Bogar is winning his September call-up, right alongside the rookies who are making big impressions on the Texas Rangers in the final month.

Bogar is planning to shed the interim tag from his manager title and stay on with this club as it builds back into a regular contender, and Texas is making him look extremely capable of taking charge.

One rookie earned the win and five others produced key hits in a 7-2 victory Thursday that gave the Rangers a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics and a season-best sixth straight win.

The Rangers won again only hours after former manager Ron Washington publicly apologized in Texas, to wife of 42 years, Gerry, for breaking her trust. It was his first public comment since resigning Sept. 5.

Texas is 7-5 under Bogar, who knows general manager Jon Daniels has a tough decision on his hands.

“I just assume I will manage next year. If they want to put somebody else here, fine,” he said. “I’m just going about my business every day. It’s not hurting me to win games but I don’t think that’s the main thing on J.D.’s mind.”

The latest loss to the team with the worst record in the majors dropped the A’s a half-game behind idle Kansas City for the first wild-spot slot. Oakland owned the best record in the big leagues as recently as Aug. 15.

Texas roughed up Sonny Gray (13-9) for four runs in the first inning.

“Today was just ugly, it was bad,” Gray said.

Gray saw his winless stretch reach five starts. The right-hander in his first full major league season has only one victory in 10 starts since his 5-0 July that earned him AL pitcher of the month honors.

“These are good teams we’re beating but I think we can beat anyone if we continue to play the way we are capable,” Texas first baseman and former A’s infielder Adam Rosales said. “I think they’re pressing right now, trying to do too much. It’s got to be tough on them.”

Nick Martinez (4-11) allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings and four relievers finished to hand Oakland its sixth loss in eight games. The Rangers swept the A’s in Oakland for the second time in 2014 and have won back-to-back series for only the third time this year.

Leonys Martin hit an RBI double and the Rangers came out swinging for 15 total hits.

“Obviously you always want to play well and now we want to finish the season on a good note,” designated hitter Adrian Beltre said. “It’s just nice, as a team, to go out, have fun, and finish strong.”

Texas got four straight two-out singles in the first, including RBI hits from Jake Smolinski, Tomas Telis and Ryan Rua. A passed ball added another for Texas. Smolinski had a career-high four hits, and the Rangers’ rookies were 9 for 22.

This series was a far cry from the end of the 2012 season, when the A’s stunned the Rangers by sweeping the final three games at the Coliseum to win the AL West.

“The teams we’re playing are still competing for the playoffs, and when you face a team from your own division, you want to beat them,” Beltre said. “It’s nice to do to them what they did to us.”

Sam Fuld’s RBI triple in the third accounted for Oakland’s runs. The A’s were outscored 19-6 in an embarrassing sweep and have struggled to support their starting pitchers during this long funk.

Even with the division decided, the Rangers (60-92) are motivated to win the rest of the way. Avoiding 100 losses is motivation enough.

“It’s a bad thing to lose 100 games,” Bogar said. “Is 99 much better? Well, it sounds much better - it looks, it sounds, it tastes.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: C Stephen Vogt still isn’t ready to start, though he will test his sprained left ankle by running the bases Friday. … RF Josh Reddick rested a day after a hard tumble that left him with a sore neck and injured left ankle. An MRI exam showed no break.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (1-0) pitches the opener of a weekend series at AL West champion Los Angeles.

Athletics: LHP Jon Lester (15-10) takes the mound at home in the interleague series opener with the Phillies, coming off a combined seven-hit shutout at Seattle last Sunday. He is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four previous starts vs. Philadelphia.


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