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Rangers beat Mulder twice in a week

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Michael Young didn't let Mark Mulder get
out of another bases-loaded jam, and made sure the Texas Rangers
kept alive their long-shot chance in the AL West.

Young's grand slam in the fourth, an inning after Mulder escaped
trouble, helped the Rangers to a 9-4 win Tuesday night in the
opener of a three-game series against the division-leading Oakland
Athletics.

"If Mulder gets out of that inning, who knows what happens,"
Mark Teixeira said. "The grand slam really hurts. After that, as a
team we knew it was over."

The Athletics trailed just 3-2 before Young's second career
slam, his 21st homer this season. It came after first baseman Scott
Hatteberg's two-out error and put the Rangers up 7-2.

"That's the type of thing a player like Mike does for a club,"
manager Buck Showalter said. "That's what leadership is all
about."

Young was an All-Star shortstop this season after switching from
second base in spring training. He replaced Alex Rodriguez after
the AL MVP was traded to the New York Yankees.

Texas is four games behind the Athletics with 12 to play.
Anaheim, which lost 7-3 to Seattle, is 2½ back of Oakland.

While the September struggles of Mulder continued, Ryan Drese
(14-8) won his third straight start even though he allowed four
runs in 5 2-3 innings.

Mulder (17-6) didn't make it out of the fifth, allowing nine
runs -- five earned -- eight hits, two walks and two hit batters. The
left-hander is 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in four starts this month.

"It was horrible. It was embarrassing," Mulder said. "It's
been like that for a while. I'm not doing the team any good. I feel
like a hitter who's 0-for-100."

Mulder hit two batters and walked Young in the third, but got
out of that with a popout and grounder. He wasn't as fortunate in
the fourth with his 2-0 pitch against Young.

"It was one of his sinkers that didn't sink," Oakland manager
Ken Macha said.

After finishing last in the AL West four straight seasons, Texas
(83-67) went into its last 10-game homestand already assured a
winning season and still in contention. The Rangers and A's are
meeting this week for the final time this season.

"Our mindset is we want to go out there and play every game,
play our kind of ball," Young said. "We're not going to come in
here with a must-win attitude, because we proved that just doesn't
work. We tried that before."

At Minnesota and Boston to start September, when they lost five
of six games.

Brian Jordan's RBI single in the first made it 3-0. Young, who
doubled for his 200th hit of the season, scored with Hank Blalock
on a two-run double by Teixeira, who has 108 RBI -- 94 since June
2.

Mulder was pulled after Kevin Mench singled and Jordan walked to
start the fifth. Both scored after the pitching change.

Before Young's slam, Oakland scored with runs in the third and
fourth innings, ending Texas' string of 20 straight scoreless
innings.

Mark Kotsay had a two-out double in the third and scored on Mark
McLemore's single. Hatteberg led off the fourth with a single and
went to third on Jermaine Dye's double before Erubiel Durazo
grounded out.

Dye went 3-for-4 with two doubles and is 8-for-13 with five
doubles in three games since missing 16 of the previous 17 with a
sprained left thumb. Kotsay was 3-for-5, his fifth multihit game
the past seven.

Oakland chased Drese after Nick Swisher's run-scoring double in
the sixth. Swisher came home on Damian Miller's single.

There was no extra security around Oakland's bullpen, and no
serious problems.

A's reliever Justin Lehr said several people were removed from
the area by stadium security for using foul language, but said it
was nothing out of the ordinary. Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin only
confirmed the ejection of one fan, but said it was because that
person was drinking alcohol without an ID.

It was the first home game for the Rangers since the altercation
with fans near their bullpen in Oakland last week. Rookie reliever
Frank Francisco threw a plastic chair into the stands, breaking the
nose of a woman whose husband had been heckling throughout the
Sept. 13 game.

The visitors' bullpen in Oakland is along the right-field line
within reach of spectators in box seats. In Arlington, the
visitors' bullpen is beyond the fence in left-center field, but
below the two sections of seats next to it.

Game notes
Young became the first Texas player with two 200-hit
seasons. He had 204 last season, and 201 this year. The team record
for hits in a season is 210 by Mickey Rivers in 1980. ... The A's
have been in first place for 47 straight days, their longest such
stretch since 1992. ... Oakland has 25 errors the past 32 games but
an AL-low 82 for the season.