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A's

Harden Loses 2nd Straight Start, A’s Fall To Rangers

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Rich Harden #18 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Texas Rangers during an MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum on September 20, 2011 in Oakland. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Rich Harden #18 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Texas Rangers during an MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum on September 20, 2011 in Oakland. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer in the first that held up for 15-game winner Derek Holland, and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Tuesday night.

Michael Young hit an RBI single in the third that gave him 200 hits for the sixth season and drove in another run in the eighth, Mike Napoli also singled in a run and Texas won for the seventh time in eight games and eighth in 10.

The first-place Rangers maintained their five-game division lead over Los Angeles after the Angels won 10-6 at Toronto. Reigning AL champion Texas is 12-5 in September. The Rangers magic number to win the AL West is down to four.

Rookie Michael Taylor hit his first major league home run in the fifth—his 18th career at-bat—for Oakland’s lone run against Holland (15-5), who won his fourth straight decision.

Elvis Andrus singled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for Texas, which moved to 24 games over .500 for its best mark since sitting 31 over in 1999.

Texas is 90-65 for its second-best record in franchise history through 154 games. The ‘99 team was 91-63 at this stage.

And the Rangers won this one by beating a familiar face.

Rich Harden (4-4) lost consecutive starts for the first time this year, done after a season-low three innings in which he was tagged for six runs—five earned—on seven hits, struck out three and walked one.

Harden, who pitched for Texas last season, is winless in five straight outings since beating the Blue Jays on Aug. 19.

Beltre drove a 1-1 pitch over the center-field wall with two outs in the first as Texas immediately jumped ahead on an uncharacteristically warm night at the Coliseum. First-pitch temperature was 74 degrees.

The slugger had batted just 2 for 16 against Harden before connecting for his 28th home run of 2011. It was Beltre’s 20th career homer against Oakland and seventh in as many games. The last eight have come off seven different pitchers.

A wild pitch in the second allowed Nelson Cruz to score after he doubled leading off the inning.

Texas scored twice more in the third to make it 6-0 and chase Harden, whose start was his shortest since the Rangers knocked him out after only 2 1-3 innings on Aug. 7, 2010.

Holland allowed one run and two hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked three while earning his second win in three starts against Oakland this season.

Coco Crisp homered in the ninth for the A’s against Michael Kirkman.

Texas came out swinging a night after Rangers manager Ron Washington attended the “Moneyball” premiere and reminisced about his special days as Oakland’s third base coach.

Cruz remained in the designated hitter role while he nurses a strained left hamstring.

Washington said Cruz would likely DH again Wednesday night and then the manager would decide whether to use him in the outfield as soon as Thursday’s series finale with the A’s or wait until back home in Texas.

Notes: A’s LF Josh Willingham was named the 2011 Jim “Catfish” Hunter Award winner. The award, voted on by players, coaches and staff, honors the Oakland player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the late Hall of Fame pitcher. … Harden is 5-4 lifetime against Texas. …
… Texas is 12-5 vs. the A’s this year, winning 11 of the last 12 matchups since May 10. The Rangers have only won more than 11 against Oakland in a season twice before—going 13-2 in 1977 and 12-7 in 2008. … LHP C.J. Wilson, who pitches for Texas on Wednesday night, has won his previous three starts against the A’s after dropping the first two this year. Wilson (16-7) leads the Rangers and is tied for fourth in the AL in victories. … RHP Brandon McCarthy (9-8) goes for the A’s and is winless in four starts against Texas this season. … The “Moneyball” premiere at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland generated more than $370,000 in charitable donations to benefit the Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland and Stand Up To Cancer.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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