Athletics 9, Rangers 3

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Erubiel Durazo made sure Barry Zito stayed perfect against the Texas Rangers.

Durazo’s go-ahead two-run single keyed a five-run seventh inning as the Oakland Athletics rallied from three runs down for a 9-3 victory Friday night over the Rangers.

Rangers starter Ryan Drese took a 3-1 lead into the seventh and Texas seemed on the verge of finally beating Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young winner.

But the A’s chased Drese and sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead and went on to their fourth consecutive victory.

Zito (12-12) improved to 10-0 in 16 career starts against the Rangers. He has won five of his last seven starts.

“He gave a very determined effort out there,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “He threw 122 pitches. I like what I saw.”

Texas went up 3-0 in the third, highlighted by Alex Rodriguez’s RBI double, but Zito recovered to retire 13 of his last 14 batters.

“I gave up the three runs, but a couple of the hits were seeing-eye, they weren’t hit very hard,” Zito said. “I couldn’t get down on myself. I know how big these games are now.”

Keith Foulke got four outs for his 41st save in 46 chances.

Zito gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings to help send the Rangers to their seventh loss in eight games. He struck out eight and walked three.

Zito said he doesn’t do anything special against the Rangers.

“It’s coincidental,” Zito said. “I’m in the same mental state. I try to prepare against everybody the same.”

The A’s loaded the bases with one out against Drese (2-3), then reliever Ron Mahay retired pinch hitter Jose Guillen. Mahay walked Eric Byrnes to force in the second run of the inning and Mark Ellis hit a line drive up the middle that bounced off Mahay’s foot and into foul territory for an RBI single.

Durazo’s two-run single put the A’s in front, and Eric Chavez added an RBI single off Brian Shouse.

Macha said Byrnes’ walk was critical to the big inning.

“Byrnes laid off some tough pitches,” Macha said. “That was a good at-bat.”

Drese allowed four runs and four hits over 6 1-3 innings.

The Rangers went ahead in the third on Hank Blalock’s sacrifice fly, Rodriguez’s RBI double and Shane Spencer’s run-scoring single. Texas scored three runs in its previous 28 innings against Zito.

“We got three runs in the third and were able to get his pitch count up, but he didn’t panic,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s an outstanding pitcher.”

Oakland made it 3-1 in the fifth when Scott Hatteberg doubled, went to third on a groundout, and scored on Jermaine Dye’s grounder.

The A’s extended their lead in the ninth on Miguel Tejada’s RBI single andRamon Hernandez’s two-run single.

Notes

Ellis went 3-for-5. … Rain fell throughout the day, but stopped about an hour before the first pitch. … The Rangers opened a 10-game homestand, their last of the season. … The A’s are 10-4 against the Rangers this season. … Drese was making his first major league start since May 8. … Durazo is 12-for-30 with four walks over his last eight games. … Ellis had been 6-for-34 in his previous nine games. … Zito went at least seven innings forthe 18th time this season.

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