Series: Game 1 of 3

Texas leads 1-0 (as of 9/21)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 21
Game 2: Wednesday, September 22
Game 3: Thursday, September 23

Athletics 4

(87-63, 38-38 away)

Rangers 9

(83-67, 47-25 home)

8:05 PM ET, September 21, 2004

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

123456789 R H E
OAK 001102000 4 11 1
TEX 30042000 - 9 10 0

W: R. Drese (14-8)

L: M. Mulder (18-6)

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press