<
>

Zito is 8-0 lifetime vs. Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Even without his best stuff, Barry Zito
was still good enough to continue his mastery of the Rangers in
Texas.

Zito remained unbeaten in eight career road decisions against
the Rangers as the Oakland Athletics moved back into first place in
the AL West with a 9-4 victory Saturday night. Zito (7-7) allowed
four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out four and
walked five.

The Rangers took a 4-0 lead after three innings, but the A's
rallied for their seventh win in eight games. Oakland took
advantage of seven walks and several Texas defensive lapses for
what manager Ken Macha called "a scrappy nine runs."

"I gathered myself," Zito said of the early deficit. "It's
nice to get some runs when you give up a few. ... I've got
something to take into my next start."

Zito had been the subject of trade rumors, and said it was a
relief that he was still with the team after Saturday afternoon's
trade deadline passed.

"I knew it could happen so I was prepared, but I didn't give it
more thought than I should have," Zito said. "I'm going to go out
every five days and do my best no matter who I'm pitching for. But
it's good that it's over."

Erubiel Durazo had two hits and drove in two runs, and Damian
Miller added two hits and scored three runs for the A's, who moved
past Texas again a day after being knocked out of first place.

The A's have taken two of the first three games of the four-game
series that concludes Sunday.

"Taking two of the first three is huge," Zito said. "It would
be nice to nail it tomorrow and leave here a game and a half up."

Brian Jordan and Rod Barajas homered for the Rangers, who have
lost six of their last eight.

Jordan gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second with his first
homer of the season. Jordan has played in just 19 games while he
tries to come back from knee surgery he had in the middle of last
season. It was his first homer since June 20, 2003, for Los
Angeles.

Texas stretched its lead to 4-0 in the third on Barajas' solo
homer and Alfonso Soriano's two-run double.

Oakland had a three-run fourth against starter Ryan Drese (7-6)
on Durazo's two-run single and Drese's bases-loaded walk to Bobby
Kielty.

Drese was in command early, retiring 10 of the first 11 he
faced. Drese had won his last three starts and started the night
6-1 with a 1.98 ERA at home this season.

Oakland scored three more in the fifth with the help of two
misplays by Rangers second baseman Eric Young.

Mark McLemore led off with a walk, and was safe at second when
Young dropped shortstop Michael Young's throw on Eric Chavez's
grounder for an error. McLemore went to third on the play and
scored the tying run on Scott Hatteberg's ground-out. Miller's RBI
single gave Oakland a 5-4 lead, chasing Drese.

Erasmo Ramirez relieved, and after two walks, he got Eric Byrnes
to hit a grounder to third. But Eric Young dropped Herbert Perry's
throw -- no error was given on the play -- as Miller scored the third
run of the inning.

Drese allowed six runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings.

"You can't walk guys and you can't make errors," Jordan said.
"Oakland's a good team. We definitely had the momentum after
yesterday and then we jumped out early on Zito, but you can't give
a team like the Oakland A's chances. They'll beat you every time."

Oakland took a 9-4 lead with a three-run seventh against Jeff
Nelson, aided by more shaky Texas defense. Miller scored from third
when third baseman Hank Blalock committed a fielding error on Bobby
Crosby's grounder. Kielty drove in Durazo from third with a
groundout, and Mark Kotsay added an RBI single.

Game notes
Zito opened the season with an 11-0 career record against
Texas, then split his first two decisions against the Rangers. ...
Nelson was ejected during the seventh-inning stretch when he ran
back onto the field to argue with plate umpire Bruce Froemming over
Froemming's strike zone. Nelson had to be restrained by manager
Buck Showalter. "I was frustrated with the strike zone and that's
the bottom line," Nelson said. ... Kielty was in an 0-for-20 slump
when Drese walked him in the fourth. Kielty broke out of an
0-for-22 with a ninth-inning double. ... The crowd of 50,708 was
the largest for a regular-season game at Ameriquest Field. ... The
Rangers tried to trade DH Brad Fullmer to San Diego over the
weekend, but concerns over Fullmer's sore right knee scuttled the
deal.