9/15/2013 3:15 P.M. ET
Darvish, A's differ on 'head games' delay
Donaldson not bothered by Texas ace uttering 'fastball,' throwing curve
By Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers ace Yu Darvish and the A's have contrasting stories on what started a brief delay in the sixth inning of Saturday's game.
Darvish was caught on the broadcast uttering, "Fastball," on a 2-2 pitch to Josh Donaldson to lead off the inning, but threw a curveball. Despite Darvish's attempt to throw him off, Donaldson managed to get a single on the pitch.
"If he wants to do that, fine, it doesn't bother me," Donaldson told the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday. "I kind of like the head games."
Coco Crisp, however, wasn't pleased and began yelling from the dugout right before Jed Lowrie's at-bat. He had to be restrained from the dugout as play temporarily stopped. Crisp did not comment on the situation.
"I think there was a part in the game where there was a lot of excitement between both of us," Darvish said Saturday. "I heard a lot of people saying something from the Oakland dugout, I said to myself, 'It's just the heat of the moment, what's at stake?' I looked at it as maybe they were trying to make me lose my concentration. But I just understood that [and] I worked to maintain my focus and pitch my game."
Darvish and Donaldson also played mind games in the first inning. Donaldson swung threw a 90-mph cutter to bring the count full in an at-bat that started with three straight balls. Just before the sixth pitch, Donaldson stepped closer to the plate just as Darvish was set. He stepped off the rubber after Donaldson made the adjustment, then walked him on a 94-mph fastball. Donaldson scored on Brandon Moss' double to account for the only run in the game.
Baker, Butler late entries as A's scratch starter
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington had to readjust his lineup right before Sunday's game against the A's. Righty Jarrod Parker was scratched due to an illness and lefty Tommy Milone started for Oakland. Washington used Jim Adduci at first base, Jeff Baker as the designated hitter, Joey Butler in left field and Craig Gentry in center field.
Lance Berkman was scheduled to start as the DH against Parker, but Washington made the change with a left-hander on the mound. The switch-hitter has been used exclusively from the left side due to a left hip injury he suffered in July. Leonys Martin was slated to start in center, but he was removed from the lineup right before first pitch.
"We'll see what happens," Washington said.
Adduci made his first career start at first base, giving Mitch Moreland the day off. Adduci has started four games since he was called up in September -- three in left field and one as the designated hitter. Moreland was available to pinch-hit, but he wasn't in the lineup due to an 0-for-21 slump in his last nine games, including 14 strikeouts. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts Saturday.
"It looked like he was trying too hard, so I gave him a breather," Washington said.
Tepesch may start Tuesday, or come out of 'pen
ARLINGTON -- Nick Tepesch remains Tuesday's tentative starter against the Rays, but Rangers manager Ron Washington expects the game to be a collective effort from his bullpen. Whether Tepesch remains as the starter will depend on how the 'pen is used before Tuesday's game.
"There will be guys out of the bullpen piggybacking," Washington said.
Tepesch said he hasn't been officially told he will start, but he's prepared to start or come out of the bullpen. He has made one start and two relief outings since he returned from the disabled list in September with right elbow inflammation. He struggled in his last outing Friday, however, allowing two runs in an inning against the A's.
"Two rehab games I had and the two appearance I had before that I thought were good," Tepesch said. "The other day, I just wasn't commanding my pitches and wasn't throwing strikes."
Tepesch said he tries to hold the same mindset whether he's starting or coming in relief. Despite the differences, he said the goal is the same.
"The spots I've come into the game is kind of, I don't want to say you treat it like a starter, but you try to get as many innings as you can," Tepesch said.
Washington's focus on winning, not standings
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't concerned about the A's widening the margin in the American League West race, nor is he worried about six teams fighting for two Wild Card spots.
Washington only cared about one thing Sunday.
"Right now we're just trying to win a ballgame," Washington said. "I'm not thinking about no playoffs, I'm not thinking about anything. We're just trying to win a ballgame. I just want to win a ballgame. Can you help me?"
The Rangers haven't executed over five games against the Pirates and A's leading up to the final contest in the homestand. They have yet to take a lead all week, dropping five straight games entering the series finale against the A's. Washington never imagine his club would get in a rut in the final month of the season.
"We've got guys out there that have delivered in RBI situations before, we just haven't been able to do it," Washington said. "It's not us, but we've just got to keep fighting."
• Washington planned to use closer Joe Nathan in Sunday's game. He's only made two appearances this month.
• The Rangers play a four-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg starting Monday. Washington on dealing with the turf: "We'll probably go out early, get some early work to get used to the field. It's no different than it's been in the past. We know all the kinks and premises in that place, playoff games we've played there. So we know all of that, but it's still turf. We'll get out there and get used to the light."
• Entering Sunday, the Rangers had been outscored, 23-17, on this homestand, but all five losses were within two runs.
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.