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A's rough up Darvish, forge tie atop AL West

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- On paper, Wednesday's game between the Oakland and Texas shaped up as a pitchers' duel with A's right-hander Jarrod Parker facing Rangers righty Yu Darvish.

Parker held up his end of the bargain, allowing two runs over six innings. Darvish didn't come close.

Brandon Moss and Daric Barton hit two-run homers off Darvish, sparking the A's to an 11-4 rout that vaulted them back into a first-place tie with Texas in the American League West with 23 games left to play.

"We're confident," Parker said. "It's something we've been all year no matter where we've been or how we've been playing. I think it's what makes us a good team. We always know we have that inner drive and confidence and trust in ourselves."

Parker (11-6) won his career-high ninth straight game and extended his unbeaten streak to 18 starts, snapping a tie with Catfish Hunter and setting an Oakland record. He struck out four, walked none and allowed five hits, improving to 6-1 for his career against Texas.

Darvish (12-7) lasted just five innings, matching his shortest stint of the season. He gave up five runs on five hits and walked a season-high six. He threw 100 pitches, but only 52 were for strikes.

"I think mechanically and mentally I was a little bit off today," Darvish said. "I think the slider command was good, but the fastball command was totally off."

With one on and no outs in the sixth, Barton sent Darvish's 100th pitch over the center-field fence for his second home run of the season and third over his past three seasons and 130 games. That blast ended Darvish's day.

"He didn't have his command, and that can happen," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You take the ball enough, that will happen. But nothing that we need to push a panic button on. He didn't have a good day. He was human. Yu is just like everybody else that goes out there and pitches. He can have a day where it don't work, and today was that day."

A's third baseman Josh Donaldson added a three-run homer off Rangers reliever Robbie Ross during the A's six-run sixtt as they built a 9-2 lead. Ross allowed hits to all four batters he faced and gave up four earned runs.

Coco Crisp launched a two-run shot in the eighth off reliever Cory Burns making the score 11-3.

Donaldson, Crisp, Moss, Barton, Sogard and Vogt each had two hits for the A's. Crisp drove in four runs, while Donaldson had three RBIs.

Darvish fell to 1-5 lifetime against the A's.

"It just happens," Crisp said. "Next year he could win every game against us. You just got to go out there and continue to battle against him. He is a really good pitcher and you're going to win some and lose some.

"Fortunately for us, we've been winning." Crisp said. "It's always going to be a battle when he's on the mound. We know that, we try to prepare like he's going to prepare for us and hopefully it doesn't flip on us."

The A's have won eight of their past 10 games, beating some of baseball's top pitchers along the way, including Detroit's Justin Verlander, Tampa Bay's David Price and now Darvish.

"That does go a long way for your confidence," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It becomes a contagious thing throughout the lineup. The fact that we are beating good starting pitching, that's even a better reason to feel good about yourself."

The Rangers lost the series but didn't lose their confidence.

"We lost two out of three. We're even," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "There are (23) games left and we need to win one more than they win. There's nothing really more to make of the series."

NOTES: Rangers catcher Geovany Soto hit his seventh home run, a solo shot in the ninth. ... Rangers SS Elvis Andrus (back spasms) was out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game Wednesday. He expects to return Friday when the Rangers open a three-game series at Anaheim against the Angels after a day off Thursday. "I feel good today," Andrus said before the game. "I feel pretty great. I feel at least I can DH today, but I guess they want to give me an extra day off plus we're off tomorrow, so it's going to be two days off in a row. I'm sure I'll be 100 percent Friday." Andrus was available to play off the bench but didn't get into the game. ... A's RF Josh Reddick (sprained right wrist) should be "pretty close to full go if not full go" on Sept. 10 when he's eligible to come off of the 15-day disabled list, Melvin said Wednesday. "He feels good. As a far as what he's doing in the cage, soft toss and so forth, he's had no problems. So when the training staff is comfortable letting him taking batting practice on the field, we'll have a better timetable with that."
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