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(Thursday, September 27th)
Final Score: Texas 9, Oakland 7
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Mike Napoli hit a two-run home run and drove in three, as the Texas Rangers edged the Oakland Athletics, 9-7, in the finale of a four-game set.
Michael Young added two RBI, while Ian Kinsler homered and scored twice for the Rangers, who earned a split in the series after dropping the last two contests and reduced their magic number to clinch the AL West to three.
"It's not always the best team that wins, but the one that plays the best," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "They played two games better than we did, we played two games better than they did. You can't look back, just look forward. They're still looking up at us."
Matt Harrison (18-10) allowed seven hits and four runs over six innings to win for the third time in his last four starts. Joe Nathan tossed a perfect ninth for his 36th save.
Derek Norris slugged a two-run shot and Josh Reddick hit a pair of solo homers for the Athletics, who dropped to four games behind their hosts in the race for the division crown.
Travis Blackley (5-4) was chased after one inning, charged with five hits and as many runs.
Oakland is still two games ahead of the Angels and Rays for the final wild- card spot.
"You see how we make these comebacks and fight, I feel helpless not to be able to help them myself," Blackley said. "They did it for us all year, and for me not to be able to get it done is not a good feeling."
Mike Adams took over for Alexi Ogando in the eighth, but surrendered three solo homers -- to Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Reddick -- which pulled Oakland within 9-7.
Nathan was able to prevent further encroachment, setting the side down in order in the ninth.
Kinsler greeted Oakland's starter with his 19th homer of the season, but after retiring the next two batters, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz singled, both moved up on a wild pitch, and Young scored both with a single. Napoli followed with his two-run shot and it was 5-0.
Each side countered the other in the next three frames. Reddick's first homer of the day put the A's on the board in the second, but Josh Hamilton doubled in Elvis Andrus in the home half.
Jonny Gomes brought in Adam Rosales with a third-inning double, countered by Napoli singling home Cruz in the bottom portion.
In the fourth, Josh Donaldson singled with one out and scored on Norris' two- out blast to pull the visitors within 7-4, but Andrus brought in Kinsler with a base hit and a Cruz fly to center plated Andrus to make it 9-4.
Harrison became Texas' first 18-game winner since Kenny Rogers in 2004 ... Both clubs are in action on Friday, as the Rangers host the Angels for three games and the Athletics begin a season-ending six-game homestand by welcoming Seattle.
09/27 23:39:36 ET