A’s end 7-game skid on Diaz’s pinch-hit HR in 9th vs Rangers

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A's end 7 game skid
Oakland Athletics' Tony Kemp rounds third past Texas Rangers' Josh Jung on a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 21, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Pinch-hitter Jordan Diaz’s first big league homer in the ninth inning powered the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night that ended a seven-game losing streak.

Diaz, appearing in his 17th major league game, homered on a 1-2 pitch from Will Smith (0-1) with one out, sending the ball sailing over the left-field wall and helping the A’s rally from a four-run, first-inning deficit.

Zach Jackson (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win. Jeurys Familia worked a scoreless ninth for his first save this season.

Jonah Heim hit a three-run homer for the second consecutive game for Texas, which had its four-game winning streak stopped despite taking an early 4-0 lead.

Texas starter Jon Gray allowed only one hit through the first three innings before running into trouble. He gave up four runs — three earned — in 5 1/3 innings and five hits with five walks, one hit batter and two wild pitches.

Heim, acquired from Oakland in February 2021, pulled a high fastball from JP Sears into the lower deck in left field. He has four homers in his last eight games after hitting none in his first six games. Heim also picked Ryan Noda off first base in the fourth inning and threw out Conner Capel trying to steal second in the second inning.

The A’s battled back with one run in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. The first of their fifth-inning runs came on Tony Kemp’s first homer of the season to end an 0-for-23 slump.

Sears allowed four runs just six batters into his start, but then gave up only two more singles through six innings. He set career highs in strikeouts (11) and pitches (101).

SHORT HOPS

Texas’ Josh Jung extended his hitting streak to nine games with a third-inning single. … The Rangers debuted their City Connect uniforms on the 51st anniversary of their first game in Arlington after leaving Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

A’s: OF Ramon Laureano (groin strain) is playing catch and hitting back in California.

Rangers: RHP Jacob deGrom threw a bullpen Friday and is on schedule to start Sunday after leaving last Monday’s game at Kansas City after four hitless innings with wrist soreness.

UP NEXT

A’s rookie RHP Shintaro Fujinami (0-3, 11.37 ERA) has improved after allowing eight runs in 2 1/3 innings in his big league debut. He’ll face LHP Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.97), who gave up no earned runs over 10 innings in his last two starts.

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