ARLINGTON, Texas -- Catcher George Kottaras rightfully gets marquee billing for hitting the home run that delivered the A's 3-2 victory Tuesday over the Texas Rangers.
But the A's No. 9 hitter wasn't the only unlikely hero as the A's won for just the third time in eight games on this 10-game, three-city trip.
Brandon Moss made a fantastic catch in right field that helped make up for a costly first-inning error he committed.
Seldom-used reliever Evan Scribner (1-0) delivered his second straight clutch outing on this trip, notching his first major league victory and setting the table for Kottaras' blast in the 10th.
"We got contributions all around, not just the long balls that would suggest where the game was won or lost," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
It all came together to give the A's (87-67) a much-needed victory. With Baltimore's loss to Toronto, the A's climbed to within a half-game of the Orioles for the American League's top wild-card spot.
They held a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card, and maintained a three-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, who have rattled off six straight wins.
The A's also pulled back to within four games of Texas in the A.L. West standings, keeping the Rangers' magic number to clinch at five.
Each of the A's past five games has been decided by one run.
Texas starter Yu Darvish was scratched because of neck stiffness, but the A's couldn't muster much offensively against emergency Rangers starter Scott Feldman and five relievers.
A's left-hander Tommy Milone went six innings and did well to rebound from an error by Moss that seemed as if it would loom large.
After Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus singled to open the bottom of the first, Josh Hamilton singled to right field and Moss let the ball go under his glove, allowing two runs to score. Center fielder Yoenis Cespedes had to track the ball down to prevent Hamilton from an inside-the-park homer.
So imagine Moss' elation when he robbed Andrus in the seventh with the bases loaded and the score tied, making a catch on a full sprint just steps from the wall.
"Holy cow," Moss said. "It seems like every error I make lately, two or three runs score and we end up losing by one. It did feel like I was running forever, but not as far as Cespy had to run for that ground ball I missed."
Daric Barton, getting a start at first base for the A's, doubled home a run in the second. Chris Carter homered in the fourth to make it 2-2.
Milone and four relievers blanked the Rangers after the first.
Scribner's effectiveness has been big considering how fatigued the A's bullpen has been. After throwing two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday, he delivered a 1-2-3 ninth to send it to extra innings.
Kottaras drove a full-count pitch from Lowe into the right-field seats to lead off the 10th. His first big league homer also came off Lowe in 2009.
"(Melvin) definitely mentioned it when I was going to the on-deck circle," Kottaras said.
Reddick, who has played in a team-high 147 of the A's 154 games, said he approached Melvin about getting a day off. He said he needed it more for the physical recuperation more so than the mental break. But he did offer a frank assessment of his recent hitting.
"I've never been one to want a day off," Reddick said before the game. "But enough is enough. I'm not helping the team at all right now. Defensively, offensively, I'm not doing one bit of good for this team right now.
"I've just been an automatic out lately. Something's got to change. You know, get Moss out there, he's been swinging the bat well for us all year. You've just gotta give someone else an opportunity to pick this team up right now."
Reddick said he expects to be back in the lineup Wednesday.
"This was the day we were targeting to get him some baseball activity," Melvin said. "Certainly it's more encouraging than we were thinking (Monday)."
A's (Jarrod Parker 11-8) at Texas (Martin Perez 1-2), 5:05 p.m. CSNCA
Combination of A's wins and Angels losses for A's to clinch a wild-card spot.
A.L. WEST race
W L Pct. GB
Texas 91 63 .591 --
A's 87 67 .565 4
A.L. Wild-card race
W L Pct. GB
Baltimore 88 67 .568 --
A's 87 67 .565 --
L.A. Angels 85 69 .552 2
Tampa Bay 84 70 .545 3
Det/Chi 82 72 .532 5
Note: Top two teams earn wild-card berths.