OAKLAND -- The A's lost a game Tuesday, 5-1 to the Texas Rangers, and fell one game back in the American League West race.

What they didn't lose was a third baseman, which they very easily could have, so they are relieved at that. Josh Donaldson, the team's most productive hitter, made perhaps the best play by anyone in the Coliseum this year in the sixth inning, racing over to the tarp to make a leaping catch of a foul ball hit by David Murphy.

Keeping his glove high so the umpires could see he'd retained possession, Donaldson wound up between the tarp and the padded wall behind it.

"That's one of the best catches I've ever seen,'' Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Not just that he got to the ball, but he caught it and held it. He could have gotten hurt. But he's a gamer and a tremendous athlete.''

A's closer Grant Balfour, watching from his view in the almost adjacent Oakland bullpen said simply, "I'm in awe of him.

"That is one of the great plays of all year,'' Balfour said. "That was just fantastic.''

Donaldson said he's always willing to put his body on the line of make a play on defense, which manager Bob Melvin says can be scary.

"That was a hell of a play,'' Melvin said. "You're not going to see too many (better) than that.''

Donaldson wasn't hurt on the play. He remained in the game and would get the second of his two doubles in his final at-bat in the eighth inning.

It was his first double, and what resulted from it, that took a little of the glitz off Donaldson's evening. He was on second with two out in the third inning when Yoenis Cespedes tried to sneak a single through the left side of the infield. Elvis Andrus, the Rangers' All-Star shortstop, is hurt right now, but his backup, Jurickson Profar, has lots of game. Profar went onto the outfield grass to stop the ball. Donaldson should have stopped at third. He didn't.

"I thought I hear someone say `Go,' '' Donaldson said. "Breaking it down later, I know Gags (third base coach Mike Gallego) was telling me to stay.''

Left with no other choice, Donaldson went barreling down the line like the prep football star he once was. He smashed into catcher A.J. Pierzynski but couldn't pry the ball loose. That run would have given the A's a 2-0 lead behind starter Bartolo Colon against Texas' second-year starter Martin Perez.

As it was, the A's didn't get the run and Perez didn't let Oakland get close again. The A's beat him twice in the final eight days of the 2012 season en route to running down the Rangers for the A.L. West title. At 22, the left-hander is a much more polished and confident looking performer now.

It was hardly the first meeting of the year between Donaldson, himself a former catcher, and Pierzynski. Back on June 20 in Arlington, Pierzynski took a relay throw from Andrus and tagged out Donaldson as the tying run for the final out of a game the Rangers won 4-3.

The next time to the plate Donaldson checked with Pierzynski to see if he was all right. Pierzynski asked after Donaldson's health, too, little knowing that the A's third baseman's body would be tested again later in the game with the catch against Murphy.

Coincidentally, it was defense that cost the A's in this one. Colon, making his second start since coming off the disabled list because of a left groin problem, gave up a homer to Mitch Moreland in the fourth inning but nothing else before butchering the pickup of a ball hit back up the middle by Craig Gentry in the fifth.

That error -- "It was a routine play,'' Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto -- a Profar double, yet another grounder up the middle that deflected off Colon's glove for a hit, and the Rangers were on their way to a three-run inning that would put the game away.

  • Michael Choice, getting his first start in the field in a big league game, also collected his first big league hit. It came in the fifth inning when, with one out, he topped a grounder down the third-base line. Perez got to the ball, but he never had a chance to run down the fleet Choice.

  • Brandon Moss was named the American League Player of the Week for the week that ended Sunday after averaging .364 with four homers and 11 RBIs during a seven-game stretch when the A's went 6-1.

  • The A's made three more promotions with the Triple-A Sacramento season over, bringing back left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone and right-handers Evan Scribner and Pat Neshek. As Neshek wasn't on the 40-man roster, the A's put left-handed pitcher Hideki Okajima on the designated for assignment list to clear space. The club has 10 days to trade him, or release him, but this late in the season, it's almost certain he'll be released. That was the fate of Luke Montz, who was designated for assignment Sunday and released Tuesday.

    WEDNESDAY'S GAME
    Texas (Yu Darvish 12-6)
    at A's (Jarrod Parker 10-6),
    12:35 p.m. CSNCA

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    This is what the Giants did and here
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    here. PAGE 5

    giants tease head
    This is what the Giants did and here
    here
    here. PAGE 5