OAKLAND, Calif. -- Hank Blalock has been around the AL West so long, all the parks seem like home.
Blalock homered and drove in four runs, leading the Texas Rangers to a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.He has driven in 31 runs in Oakland, his most in any park away from Arlington. His nine home runs here are second to the 10 he's hit in Anaheim."You just get used to playing at certain places," Blalock said. "You get used to the atmosphere."David Murphy and Marlon Byrd each added a pair of RBIs as the Rangers won for the third time in 10 games. Nelson Cruz also drove in a run for Texas, which trails Boston by seven games for the AL wild card and the Angels by 6½ in the West."We have taken the attitude that anything can happen," Blalock said. "I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to get us as many wins as we can."Blalock lost his starting job at first base, but once Michael Young and Josh Hamilton went out with injuries, Rangers manager Ron Washington turned to him once again."Hank is becoming Mr. September," Washington said. "Last year he did the same thing. I definitely need him and I'm happy he's out there for us. We need a presence in the lineup and he's got presence. He can put runs on the board with one swing."Eric Patterson hit a home run and Cliff Pennington drove in two runs for the A's, who lost for the third time in 11 games."He was the best overall offensive player we had in [Triple-A] Sacramento and he's getting his chance to play," A's manager Bob Geren said of Patterson. "I'm glad to see him performing well."Tommy Hunter (9-4) won for the third time in four decisions after giving up seven runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter."I'm supposed to win when your team gives you that many runs," Hunter said. "I need not to give up so many though. I'm glad we won. What do they say about an ugly win? A win is a win."Four Rangers' relievers -- Dustin Nippert, Darren O'Day, C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco -- held off the A's. Francisco pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances.A's starter Clayton Mortensen (2-3) had his two-game winning streak stopped after giving up seven runs -- three earned -- on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six."I didn't feel too good about it," Mortensen said. "I didn't feel real good on the mound. I fell behind in the count, left pitches up and ended up paying for it."Murphy and Blalock each drove in runs in the first to put the Rangers on top. Blalock's two-run shot in the fourth made it 4-0.With one out in the bottom of the fourth, five consecutive A's hit safely and all five scored. Pennington's two-run single was the big blow and gave the A's a 5-4 edge. Ryan Sweeney and Mark Ellis each doubled in a run and Jack Cust singled home a run.The Rangers regained the lead in the fifth as Byrd singled in two runs, Blalock added an RBI double and Nelson Cruz singled home a run for an 8-5 lead.After Patterson homered for the A's in the fifth, Murphy's two-out single in the sixth gave the Rangers a 9-6 advantage.Daric Barton singled a home in the sixth and Davis doubled home another in the seventh to make it 9-8.
Davis singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The Rangers went 32 innings between home runs. ... Murphy has 17 hits and 12 RBIs against the A's this year, his most against any team. ... The Rangers stole four bases and moved past the Angels into second in the AL with 143 steals.