OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The ball carried more than usual on this cool Bay Area night, and the power-hitting Texas Rangers took full
Michael Young hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning and Kenny Rogers dominated again at the Coliseum, leading the Rangers past the Oakland Athletics 3-1 on Friday night."I've never seen the ball carry this time of year like it did tonight," Texas manager Buck Showalter said.Oakland lost its second straight following a three-game winning streak and dropped four games behind the AL West-leading Angels with nine to go."We need a seven-game winning streak," A's manager Ken Macha said.Young led off the sixth with his 24th homer, extending his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, and Mark Teixeira hit his 42nd homer leading off the fourth. He has 27 RBI this month, a Rangers record for September.The Rangers have a franchise-high 256 home runs, the third-highest total in major-league history. Texas needs eight homers in its last eight games to match the season record set by Seattle in 1997.Such records might be celebrated after the season but mean little right now to the Rangers, who rebounded from getting swept at Anaheim to diminish the A's playoff hopes and end a five-game road losing streak."I think the Angels are loving us right now," Teixeira said. "We let them take three games from us in Anaheim, then we took care of Oakland."Mark Kotsay homered and Jay Payton doubled and singled for the A's. Kotsay lined a 2-0 pitch from Rogers to right with one out in the first for his 15th homer.Rogers (14-7) matched his season high with five walks, which he also did April 27 against Seattle, but calmly worked out of several jams. The lefty had walked only five batters total in his four other September outings.Francisco Cordero finished for his 35th save in 43 opportunities.Rogers made his fifth start of the season against the A's, improving to 4-0 this year against his former team. Rogers, who pitched for Oakland in 1998 and part of '99, is 21-1 in the Coliseum since a loss Aug. 7, 1994.Rogers has won his last three decisions following a six-start winless stretch.The A's had runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth after Payton doubled and Bobby Crosby followed with a single, but Rogers got three straight outs to escape the jam."We should have had plenty of runs in that game," Crosby said. "We've got nine games left and if we expect to get to the playoffs, we can't do that. ... We're not going to give up by any means. We still have a good shot at doing it."Rogers allowed three straight two-out walks in the sixth and then Crosby flied out to center. He allowed five hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings.Dan Haren (13-12) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings, struck out four and didn't walk a batter. He had a three-game winning streak snapped when he lost 2-1 at Boston last Saturday. After Teixeira's home run, the right-hander retired eight of the next 10 batters he faced, allowing a single to Hank Blalock
and Young's home run."This is a tough one to swallow," Haren said. "I threw the ball pretty well. I made a few mistakes. We hit a lot of balls hard at their guys, and their pitchers worked out of jams."Jason Kendall made his 138th start at catcher for the A's, breaking Ray Fosse's Oakland record of 137 games started by a catcher set in 1973. Kendall batted third for just the 13th time this year and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Oakland right-hander Justin Duchscherer made his first appearance since Sept. 16 after being slowed by back spasms. ... Texas' Alfonso Soriano stole his 26th base in the second and reached on a fielder's choice in the eighth to drive in a run. ... Oakland's Mark Ellis had his six-game hitting streak snapped. ... A's outfielder Bobby Kielty returned to the lineup for the first time since straining his left oblique muscle Sept. 4 against the Yankees. ... Oakland right-hander Rich Harden pitched a simulated game to test a strained muscle beneath his throwing shoulder, but club officials remained uncertain whether he will pitch again this year. Sidelined since
Aug. 19 with the injury in the back of his shoulder, Harden threw 31 pitches to Freddie Bynum and Alberto Castillo under the supervision of pitching coach Curt Young. ... Longtime A's public address announcer Roy Steele, with the club since it came to Oakland in 1968, returned to the job after missing three games with a throat illness.