Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Texas won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, September 21
Oakland4Final
Texas9
Game 2: Wednesday, September 22
Oakland3Final
Texas5
Game 3: Thursday, September 23
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Athletics 4

(87-65, 38-40 away)

Rangers 5

(85-67, 49-25 home)

2:05 PM ET, September 23, 2004

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

123456789 R H E
OAK 100011001 4 10 0
TEX 011000003 5 10 0

W: J. Nelson (1-2)

L: O. Dotel (4-6)

Rangers close to within two in West

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The way David Dellucci's luck had been going at the plate, he figured his hard-hit liner would be caught for the final out.

"I went from frustration to elation," he said.

David Dellucci
Dellucci

Dellucci's hit was just out of the reach of a diving Jermaine Dye, and skipped into the right-field corner. The double drove home two runs to give the Texas Rangers a 5-4 win over Oakland on Thursday and a three-game sweep of the Athletics.

"We knew we had to do that," said Brian Jordan, who scored the winning run. "It definitely does a lot for our confidence."

Texas, a surprise contender after four straight last-place finishes, moved within two games of the AL West-leading Athletics with 10 to play. The Rangers have won five in a row and 10 of 13.

Hank Blalock hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth, his 32nd to pull the Rangers to 4-3 against Octavio Dotel (4-2).

Then the stage got set for Dellucci, who was in a 5-for-44 slump and had been robbed of a hit two innings earlier. But Dye couldn't take another hit away.

"The way he hit it, it had a lot of hook on it. It was a do-or-die play," Dye said. "I had to dive and try to make the play. If not, it was going to the wall anyway."

Before Dellucci's winner, Michael Young doubled for his fourth hit and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked, his team-record fifth walk of the game. Jordan reached on a forceout.

"I made sure to get to home plate and score. That turns the day around," said Jordan, who was 0-for-5. "I rounded second base, and I heard the fans cheering."

Mark Kotsay, Adam Melhuse and Bobby Crosby homered for the Athletics (87-63), who lead both Texas and Anaheim by two games. Oakland plays at the Angels this weekend, and the Rangers host Seattle.

Texas opened its final series against the A's with wins over All-Star starter Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. This was the 22nd time Mulder, Zito and Tim Hudson started in the same three-game series during their five seasons together. Only twice before -- both at the New York Yankees -- had the A's been swept, in April 2001 and April 2004.

"We're still in pretty good position. I'd rather be two games up than two games back," said Hudson, who held Texas to two runs over seven innings. "We lost a tough one, it's going to happen. ... We've played the whole year for 10 games."

Crosby's 21st homer, leading off the ninth against Jeff Nelson (1-2), gave the A's a 4-2 lead.

Kotsay homered leading off the game. Then, with two on in the seventh, Kotsay ran to the warning track and made a jumping catch against the center-field wall to grab Dellucci's fly. That was Hudson's final batter.

After a 1-2-3 first, Hudson had to deal with runners every other inning. The Rangers left 10 runners on against him, two each in four innings, as Hudson scattered seven hits and matched a season high with five walks, one intentional.

Dotel took over after Jim Mecir pitched a perfect eighth.

"We never predict if we will win or lose. We always play to the end of the game," Young said. "That's a huge strength of this club."

Young doubled twice in his 67th multihit game and has 205 hits, five short of the team season record.

Scott Hatteberg had a one-out double in the sixth off Erasmo Ramirez, and Dye followed with a single that gave Oakland a 3-2 lead.

Kotsay and Melhuse had solo homers off Chan Ho Park, who left after five innings and just 78 pitches. Crosby's 21st homer led off the ninth against Nelson.

Kotsay hit the game's third pitch off the facade of the second deck of stands in right field, a 401-foot shot for his 15th homer, the fourth leading off. Melhuse's one-out homer in the fifth tied it at 2.

Melhuse, catching because Damian Miller caught Wednesday night, went 3-for-3 with a walk. Kotsay was 2-for-4 with a walk, his seventh multihit game during a 10-game hitting streak.

The Rangers led 2-1 in the third after a leadoff double by Eric Young, whose first homer of the season Wednesday night was the tiebreaker in Texas' 5-3 win. After going to third on a groundout, Young scored on Michael Young's infield hit.

Texas tied the game at 1-all on Laynce Nix's RBI single in the second. Dellucci beat the throw to first to avoid an inning-ending double play and moved to second when Kevin Mench walked before Nix.

Game notes


The Rangers will begin selling playoff tickets Saturday. ... Oakland still won the season series for the third straight year, 11-9. ... Kotsay has four leadoff homers this season, seven in his career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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