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Oakland widens division lead

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Mark Redman became accustomed to pitching in the heat last season for the Florida Marlins. He used
that experience to his advantage for the Oakland Athletics.

On a muggy afternoon when temperatures soared into the upper 90s, Redman pitched seven solid innings, Eric Chavez homered and the A's increased their AL West lead over slumping Texas with a 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Sunday.

Redman (8-8) gave up one run and six hits, struck out four and didn't issue a walk in sending Texas to its seventh loss in nine games.

"When you train in it, you get used to it," Redman said. "But when you play in a perfect climate like we do (in Oakland), it's tough. Last year, I pitched in Philadelphia in 104-degree heat, so
when you're used to it, it's easier."

Redman, who had lost five of his six previous decisions, is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against Texas this season.

The key to Redman's outing was his control, A's manager Ken Macha said.

"It all comes down to the starter getting you into the
seventh," Macha said. "That was huge. He gave us seven good
innings with no walks."

Mark Kotsay homered and Adam Melhuse drove in two runs for the
A's, who won three out of four in the series to take a 1½-game lead
over the Rangers. The A's have won eight of their last nine to
improve from 4½ games behind the Rangers on July 23.

Oakland had gone 1-7-1 in its previous nine road series, and the
A's felt it was important to close out the four-gamer against the
Rangers with a victory.

After a day off Monday -- their first since the All-Star break --
the A's open a stretch of seven straight road games against two
first-place teams, the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

"We've struggled on the road, that's no secret," Kotsay said.
"Now we're facing New York, another quality ballclub. We've got
our work cut out for us."

Redman got defensive help from right fielder Jermaine Dye, who
robbed Kevin Mench of a solo homer in the sixth with a leaping
catch.

"I thought it was a regular flyball, but the ball carries out
to right in this park, and it just kept carrying," Dye said.

Octavio Dotel got three outs for his eighth save in 10 chances
since he was acquired from Houston on June 24.

The A's took a 1-0 lead in the fourth against rookie Nick
Regilio (0-2) on Chavez's 19th homer.

Oakland made it 3-0 in the fifth with the help of a throwing
error by third baseman Hank Blalock. Bobby Crosby had a one-out
double, and Blalock made a diving stop on Marco Scutaro's smash
near the foul line. Blalock's throw to first was in the dirt,
skipping past first baseman Mark Teixeira as both runners to
advanced. It was scored a single and an error to allow the runners
to move up.

With the infield in, ninth-place hitter Melhuse's single off the
glove of second baseman Alfonso Soriano drove in both runs.

Texas got within 3-1 in the fifth when Gerald Laird doubled and
scored on Michael Young's single.

Regilio allowed three runs and six hits over five innings in his
second major league start.

Kotsay's leadoff homer off Carlos Almanzar in the eighth made it
4-1.

The Rangers try to get back on track in a seven-game road trip
that opens Tuesday in Detroit before moving on to Baltimore.

"If we expect to make the playoffs, these are the teams we're
going to have to beat," Rangers outfielder Gary Matthews Jr.
said.

Game notes
The A's have won nine of 13 against the Rangers this season
with seven meetings left, all in September. ... Laird got his first
hit since May 19. He missed two months with a torn ligament in his
left thumb and had been 0-for-12 in four starts since he was
activated July 23. ... Rangers LHP Ron Mahay set a career high with
his 36th appearance. ... RHP Tim Hudson allowed two hits and two
runs in three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on
Saturday night. Hudson, out since June 23 with a strained left
oblique, is expected to rejoin the rotation this week.