Rangers, Harden Fall To A's 6-2

Rich Harden couldn't escape the third inning, walking five in two and a third innings while giving up three runs in a 6-2 loss to Oakland.

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Official Recap: Oakland 6, Texas 2

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Coco Crisp homered and drove in three runs, and Gio Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings to lead Oakland over American League West-leading Texas, 6-2, in the middle installment of a three-game series.

Gonzalez (10-7) held the Rangers to four hits and three walks while fanning two for the Athletics, who have alternated wins and losses over their past eight contests and remain 8 1/2 games back of the division leaders.

Taylor Teagarden homered for Texas, while Rich Harden (4-4), in his second start since being activated off the disabled list, only lasted 2 1/3 innings thanks to five walks allowed. The former A’s ace gave up two hits and three runs in his shortest outing of the year.

Harden had control issues from the start, walking three of four hitters after Crisp led off the home first with a single. The third bases on balls came against Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was down 0-2 before working the count full and taking a low fastball to force in a run.

Mark Ellis added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead, and Crisp took a first-pitch changeup over the wall in right-center in the next frame.

Crisp made it a four-run game in the fourth when his fly ball to center was deep enough to score Cliff Pennington, who opened the frame with a triple off Scott Feldman.

The Rangers failed to score off Gonzalez despite having two baserunners in the second, fourth and fifth frames.

Nelson Cruz bounced into an inning-ending double play in the sixth, and Rajai Davis singled in the bottom half and came around to score on Matt Watson’s line-drive double to right. Crisp added another sac fly later in the inning for a 6-0 margin.

Teagarden spoiled Oakland’s shutout bid with a leadoff homer off Jerry Blevins in the eighth, and David Murphy singled home Jorge Cantu in the ninth before Craig Breslow closed out the win.

Game Notes

Harden spent five-plus years in Oakland and threw seven shutout innings against his former team earlier this season…Davis went 2-for-4 and recorded two steals, upping his season total to 34…Oakland has won nine of their last 10 day games…The Rangers still lead the season series, 6-5…In the rubber match on Sunday, Trevor Cahill is scheduled to start for Oakland opposite Colby Lewis.

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Texas Looks To Win Fourth Straight

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers are running away with the AL West and will try to put even more distance between themselves and the rest of the division today, as they resume a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.

Last night, Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run homer and Cliff Lee was solid in eight innings on the mound, as the Rangers took down the Athletics, 5-1, in the opener of this set.

Lee (10-5) gave up just one run on seven hits in another strong outing. The left-hander has now pitched at least eight innings over his last 10 starts, the longest run by any pitcher since Pat Hentgen's 12-game run for Toronto in 1996.

Josh Hamilton hit a solo homer for the Rangers, who have won three in a row and are now 9 1/2 games ahead of second-place Oakland in the AL West standings. Elvis Andrus scored a run and drove in a run for the victors.

"This team has one goal and that's to get to the playoffs. We want to win every game we can," Teagarden said.

Kurt Suzuki had the lone RBI for the Athletics, who had taken two of three games from Kansas City earlier in the week.

"We still got an opportunity to win the series. We just got to come back tomorrow ready to go," Suzuki said.

Dallas Braden (6-8) went six frames in the start, allowing four runs on five hits to take the loss.

Getting the call for the Athletics today will be Gio Gonzalez, who has received just two runs of support over his last two outings. On Sunday, the left-hander surrendered four earned runs over eight innings of a 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He allowed six hits, while striking out a career-high 11 batters.

Gonzalez has made five career appearances - three starters - versus the Rangers, going 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA. He recently faced them on July 27th, when he gave up one earned run over six innings of work. Oakland, however, fell 3-1 in 10 innings.

Texas will counter with Rich Harden, as he tries to build off a solid outing. The right-hander was activated from the disabled last Saturday and he tossed seven strong innings in a 2-1 win over the Angels. He gave up just one earned run on five hits, while earning his first win since June 1st.

Harden, who began his career with the Athletics, faced his former team for the first time on May 3rd. In that game, he allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings, while fanning nine in a 4-2 triumph.

Texas has won six of its 10 matchups with the A's this season.

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