Athletics 6, Rangers 5

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—The Oakland Athletics are peaking at the right time.

Eric Chavez’s bases-loaded walk capped a three-run seventh as the Athletics rallied to beat Texas 6-5 Sunday night for their sixth straight win and their biggest lead in the AL West this season.

“Every game is precious at this point,” said first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who helped start the comeback. “We’re playing as good as we have all year and have confidence in that.”

The Athletics have a 3 1/2 -game lead in the AL West over Seattle, which lost 2-1 at Anaheim on Sunday. Oakland has won 21 of its last 28 games to overcome a five-game deficit to the Mariners, who are 12-15 their last 27 games.

Oakland players knew Seattle had lost, having watched the end of that game before taking the field.

“I would say there were some guys looking at the scoreboard, but you have to take care of yourself,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “We have six games head-to-head with them. We have to keep doing what we have been doing, play hard and stay focused.”

The A’s start a three-game series Monday in Anaheim, then go home for three games against the Mariners. They close the regular season with three games in Seattle.

Texas starter Tony Mounce, after giving up two early homers, retired 14 of 15 batters and had a 5-3 lead before Hatteberg and Terrence Long had consecutive singles to start the seventh.

“I thought I threw well. At the beginning, I was a little off and after that I started working in a little more,” Mounce said.

Ramon Hernandez’s bloop single off reliever Rosman Garcia (1-2) drove in a run, and Long scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice grounder. Chavez later drew a four-pitch walk off Aaron Fultz, who had loaded the bases by walking the first batter he faced, also on four pitches.

“There were some intense at-bats, and we wind up getting some walks,” Macha said. “Ramon’s jam-bloop shot opened it up and we had some patient at-bats after that.”

Jermaine Dye and Mark Ellis both beat out potential double-play grounders before the consecutive walks by Fultz.

Chad Harville (1-0), the fourth of seven Oakland pitchers, struck out Alex Rodriguez, the only batter he faced, for his first career win.

Keith Foulke got the final four outs for his AL-leading 42nd save in 47 chances.

“Right now, we don’t need help from anybody, so I don’t worry about what other teams are doing,” Foulke said.

The Rangers got the potential tying run into scoring position in the ninth when pinch-runner Jermaine Clark stole second with two outs, following a one-out walk by Rafael Palmeiro. However, Shane Spencer lined out to Foulke to end the game.

Texas has lost five straight games, and 17 of 22.

Hank Blalock drove in three runs, including a two-run homer, for the Rangers. Rodriguez led off the fifth with his major league-leading 43rd homer for a 5-3 lead.

Oakland led 2-0 in the first after Miguel Tejada’s two-run homer, his 26th. The Athletics regained the lead when Hernandez hit his 21st homer in the top of the second to make it 3-2.

After Hernandez homered, Mounce allowed only a leadoff walk to Tejada in the fourth until the seventh, when the A’s batted around.

Blalock had an RBI single in the first, and an inning later hit his 26th homer to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead against Justin Duchscherer.

Duchscherer threw 40 pitches in the first inning, 12 to leadoff hitter Michael Young, who doubled before scoring on Blalock’s single. Blalock scored on Shane Spencer’s one-out single to tie the game at 2-2.

Young finished 4-for-5, pushing his average from .299 to .303.

Before Blalock’s homer in the second, Gerald Laird reached on an error. Laird was 0-for-4, snapping his franchise-record eight-game hitting streak tostart his major league career.


Tejada has nine homers and 22 RBIs his last 25 games after just two homers and 22 RBIs the previous 48 games. … Duchscherer, who allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over 3 1-3 innings, won his major league debut for the Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington on July 25, 2001. His only other major league win was Tuesday when he pitched seven shutout innings at Anaheim in his first start for the A’s. … Rangers rookie 1B Mark Teixeira snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a single in the fifth. … In the fourth, Tejada advanced two bases on Hatteberg’s grounder, rounding second and taking off for third when third baseman Blalock threw to first. But Tejada got stranded aftertwo more grounders.

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