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Rogers went 35 games without loss at A's home

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Rich Harden and Bobby Crosby hadn't even
started high school the last time Kenny Rogers lost at the
Coliseum.

The Athletics' youngest regulars were the biggest contributors
to Oakland's 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, with
Harden pitching into the seventh inning and Crosby hitting a
three-run double.

Neither Rogers nor the A's cared much about the left-hander's
streak of 18 victories and 35 appearances in Oakland without a loss
stretching back to Aug. 7, 1994. The playoff race is a bigger
concern for both teams -- and with a much-needed win, the A's
maintained their slim AL West lead.

"You try to put it aside, but it's always in the back of your
mind," said Harden, who had seven strikeouts while becoming
Oakland's fifth 10-game winner. "It's coming down to the last few
series here, and everything is magnified."

Crosby, who was 14 when Rogers last lost in Oakland, provided a
clutch fifth-inning hit that allowed the Athletics to salvage a
split of the four-game set. He and Harden (10-6) were teammates at
Triple-A Sacramento last summer, but they're thriving in a major
league race this fall.

"It's incredible for a rookie to be in this type of
situation," Crosby said. "I'm not even thinking about it. I'm
just taking it like it's the middle of the season, a regular old
(at-bat)."

Crosby was unaware of Rogers' decade of dominance at the
Coliseum.

"Sometimes it's better not to be aware of that stuff," he said
with a grin. "That can put bad thoughts in your mind."

The Rangers had several disappointments in the finale of the
four-game set. In addition to the end of Rogers' streak and a
wasted chance to move within three games of the division lead,
Texas might have lost Alfonso Soriano with an injury to his left
leg.

Soriano was hurt in an awkward headfirst slide while stealing
third base in the eighth inning. His left foot got caught under his
right leg, and he left the game after consulting with trainers.
He'll undergo tests Friday.

"It doesn't look very good," manager Buck Showalter said.
"But we won't comment until the MRI."

The series began Monday night with an ugly confrontation between
the Rangers' relievers and a heckling fan. Texas reliever Frank
Francisco threw a chair into the stands, breaking a woman's nose.

There was no ruling from the commissioner's office Thursday on a
suspension for Francisco. But a penalty is likely to be imposed
Friday -- possibly about 10 games.

Doug Brocail, the other Rangers reliever prominently involved in
the fracas, got loud boos when he took the mound in the fifth. But
there was no visible trouble in the sun-baked crowd.

Harden allowed six hits while improving to 7-1 since the
All-Star break -- and more importantly, sending the A's on a
nine-game road trip against their three division rivals on a good
note.

"You can't say it's a must-win, but it's as close as you could
get to it," A's manager Ken Macha said. "It's going to make
Texas' road a little tougher. We're going to feel good about
ourselves on the plane ride up (to Seattle)."

The A's had lost seven of 10 entering the finale of their
10-game homestand, and Texas built a 4-1 lead entering the fifth
before Crosby cleared the bases with two outs on Rogers' 103rd
pitch.

Rogers (16-8) allowed nine hits and five runs in his shortest
start since Aug. 8. The All-Star is 1-3 over his last six starts.

"I had a 4-1 lead, and I let it get away from me," Rogers
said.

When asked about his incredible Oakland streak, Rogers shrugged
and said: "I guess I just have to start again."

Three Oakland relievers preserved the lead after Harden left in
the seventh. Octavio Dotel stranded pinch-runner Manny Alexander on
third base in the eighth, then pitched the ninth for his 21st save
in 26 chances.

Eric Young had two doubles and Hank Blalock drove in two runs
for the Rangers, whose four-game split in Oakland must be
considered a success, though their five-game deficit in the West
didn't change. Texas usually struggles against Oakland, losing nine
of 13 to the A's before the series.

Eric Chavez drove in two runs for the A's, who fell behind when
the Rangers scored three in the third on RBI hits by Young and
Blalock.

Eric Byrnes got a triple in the fifth when David Dellucci and
Laynce Nix ran into each other. The ball was jarred from Dellucci's
glove in the violent collision, but both outfielders emerged
unscathed.

Game notes
Rogers nearly left the game after sticking out his pitching
hand in an attempt to catch Mark Kotsay's line-drive single in the
third. The left-hander stayed on the mound after trainers examined
him. ... The September game between contending clubs drew just
15,281 fans to the Coliseum. ... A's rookie Nick Swisher made two
errors in right field.