ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Winning two out of three isn't good
enough for the Oakland Athletics when they are running out of
Mark Teixeira hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer that made him
the major league RBI leader and the Texas Rangers avoided a
three-game sweep with their 7-4 victory Sunday that dropped Oakland
to third place in the AL wild-card chase."We're trying to win as much as we can. This one's going to
hurt a little bit because the next two series are going to be
really important," said Oakland shortstop Marco Scutaro, who had a
two-run double and a solo homer. "We're just trying to win every
game. We don't have much time left."Oakland (79-63) had won three straight, but lost for the seventh
time in 11 games overall. The A's began the day tied with New York
at 1½ games behind wild-card leader Cleveland, but the Yankees beat
Boston. And Oakland dropped two games behind AL West-leading Los
Angeles after the Angels beat the White Sox."When you're in a pennant race, and you lose a game, you're not
happy," manager Ken Macha said, somewhat tersely. "Let's just
leave it at that."The Athletics have 20 games left over the next three weeks. They
start a three-game series Monday in Cleveland, followed by four
games in Boston."This is probably the toughest seven-day stretch of our year,
in two places we haven't played real well," Scott Hatteberg said.
"So we really need to buckle down and play as well as we can."Back in May, when they were still in last place in the AL West,
the A's were swept in three-game series at Boston and Cleveland.
But Oakland is 35-20 since the All-Star break, the best record in
the majors.While Oakland is still in the playoff chase, the Rangers (70-73)
are left to pursue the major league home run record.Alfonso Soriano and Mark DeRosa also homered for the Rangers,
who lead the majors with 241. They are on pace for 273 homers, nine
more than the Seattle Mariners hit when they set the big league
record in 1997, and have already set a club mark with 141 at home.Teixeira's career-best 39th homer gave Texas a 5-2 lead in the
fifth inning. He has homered in three straight games, and has five
in seven games."Home runs come in bunches, I've always said that," Teixeira
said. "Sometimes you just feel that stroke for a week, or two
weeks straight. And right now, I feel it."It increased the All-Star first baseman's RBI total to 125, two
more than Boston's David Ortiz."That's something you look at after the season and be proud
of," he said. "Hopefully, there's a couple of more to go."Kenny Rogers (13-7) threw a season-high 121 pitches over six
innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out five and
walked two. John Wasdin pitched three innings for his fourth save.
He gave up a solo homer to Scutaro on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in
the ninth.Rogers has won his last two decisions. The 40-year-old
left-hander was 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in four August starts after
returning from his 13-game suspension for shoving two TV cameramen
earlier this season."Kenny was effective," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
"They've seen Kenny so much. They hit some good pitches for hits.
He bent, but he didn't break."Joe Kennedy (3-3) lost his third straight start filling in for
Rich Harden, who has a strained muscle in his upper back. Kennedy
struck out six, but gave up six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3
innings.DeRosa led off the third with his seventh homer. Soriano's 33rd
was a solo shot with two outs in the seventh off Keiichi Yabu.The A's took a 2-1 lead when Scutaro doubled off the left-center
wall in the fifth.Texas went ahead to stay in the fifth. After DeRosa and Gary
Matthews Jr. had consecutive one-out singles, Michael Young drove
in a run with his single. Teixeira followed with his homer that
landed deep in the Rangers' bullpen in right-center.Young went 2-for-4 to increase his AL-leading batting average to
.330. He leads the majors with 196 hits and 59 multihit games.Harden threw 35 pitches in a side session Sunday. Macha said
there was a chance the right-hander could start Friday in Boston.
Rangers DH Phil Nevin was ejected after arguing a called
third strike in the second inning. ... Oakland has allowed seven
runs or more in five of the last eight games. ... The start was
delayed 27 minutes by rain.