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OAKLAND 5, TEXAS 3

9/24/2003

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Before this homestand began, outfielder
Chris Singleton offered Jose Guillen a $100 bet: Who would get back
onto the field first?

Guillen didn't take it, but he should have.

Playing with a broken bone in his left hand, Guillen hit a
two-run homer and bunted home the go-ahead run in his second start
back from the injury to lead the Oakland Athletics over the Texas
Rangers 5-3 Wednesday.

"He doesn't owe me anything," Guillen said, smiling as usual.
"I think the bet was forgotten. I got onto the field first. I win
the battle."

Singleton also was in there Wednesday, getting two hits to break
an 0-for-14 slump.

Tim Hudson pitched seven solid innings as A's manager Ken Macha
rested most of his regulars, a day after Oakland clinched its
second straight AL West title. Chad Harville pitched the ninth for
his first major league save.

But, as always, reigning AL MVP Miguel Tejada was in the lineup.
Tejada played in his 591st straight game, then skipped off the
field when he was replaced by Bobby Crosby just before the start of
the fourth. Tejada received a standing ovation, and he waved and
tipped his hat before disappearing into the dugout. It may have
been his final regular-season home game in an A's uniform -- he is
eligible for free agency after the season.

"I was pretty happy," Tejada said of the greeting. "I'm
really proud of myself. I never think that (this is my last game).
I think of every day like my first day, not my last one. I've been
saying I don't look for any streak. I played today because I love
the game."

The A's are headed to the playoffs for the fourth straight
season, looking to get past the first round after losing three
straight division series.

Guillen hit his 31st homer against Joaquin Benoit in the first
after Singleton led off with a single. Guillen broke the hamate
bone in his left hand Sept. 14, but said he would surprise people
by coming back to play this year.

"I think I'm doing it," he said.

Rangers manager Buck Showalter tapped his fingers to his lips as
he watched in frustration as the A's went ahead. Mark Teixeira hit
a solo homer in the eighth off John Halama for the Rangers, who
went 4-15 against the A's this season. Oakland's 15 wins against
Texas are their most in a season against the Rangers -- the A's won
13 meetings in 2002. The A's last won 15 against one team when they
went 15-3 against Milwaukee in 1971.

Hudson (16-7), who is scheduled to start Game 1 of the playoffs
for the A's, had runners on second and third with two outs in the
seventh but got Jermaine Clark to ground out. Hudson allowed one
earned run and five hits.

"I feel like the last few outings I've been back to my old
self," he said. "I'm ready to go, man. I feel strong."

Alex Rodriguez didn't play for the Rangers, ending his
consecutive games streak at 546. Rodriguez, who sat out for the
first time since July 23, 2000, was getting ready to pinch hit in
the ninth, but the game ended when Einar Diaz hit into a double
play.

"He gave me the option," Rodriguez said. "It's no big deal.
The streak means nothing to me. I'll start a new one Friday. The
streak just shows my love for the game. I would never want to play
just to extend something."

Ron Mahay (3-2) allowed both runs in the seventh for the loss.
Guillen broke the 2-all tie with a safety squeeze bunt with Frank
Menechino on third.

Adam Melhuse, who got the game-ending hit in Tuesday's 4-3,
10-inning win, hit a solo homer in the eighth.

Hank Blalock hit the first pitch from Hudson over the wall in
right in the sixth for his 29th homer, tying the game at 2.

Texas scored an unearned run in the fourth after Graham Koonce's
throw to second went through the legs of shortstop Bobby Crosby for
a two-base error that allowed Michael Young to reach third. Young
scored on Rafael Palmeiro's fielder's choice.

Game notes
Texas' Jason Jones snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a single
in the fifth. ... Hudson threw 100 pitches, 65 strikes. ... Koonce
is 0-for-6 with five strikeouts for the A's since being called up
from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 14. ... Oakland's Mike Edwards
got his first major league hit in the eighth.