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Athletics vs. Rangers final score: Big first inning dooms Oakland in 9-7 loss

The Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers squared off in the final game of a four-game series in Arlington on Thursday afternoon. The A's were hoping to pick up the series win and move to within two games of the Rangers in the American League West, but ultimately had to settle for a series split and will remain four games out following a 9-7 loss. Their hopes of capturing the division title are now a long shot at best.

Oakland starter Travis Blackey was far from sharp, giving up five costly runs to the Rangers in the first inning and departing in the second. Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to get the A's in a hole early. Michael Young followed up with a two-run single and Mike Napoli belted a two-run homer. By the time the A's came to bat in the top of the second, they were down 5-0.

Josh Reddick got the A's on the board in the top of the second with his 30th home run of the year. The Rangers got that run right back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double from Josh Hamilton. Jonny Gomes hit an RBI double of his own in the top of the third to make it 6-2, but again the Rangers answered back with an RBI single from Napoli in the bottom of the frame.

Derek Norris hit a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth that made it 7-4, but Texas again matched Oakland with two runs in the bottom of the inning to push the lead back out to 9-4. The A's threatened late, with a big three-run inning in the top of the eighth thanks to home runs by Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Reddick. For the first time in the game, the A's were within two runs, but were unable to close the gap in the ninth.

The Athletics' five home runs in the game extended their MLB lead in that category. Cespedes now has 22 on the year, Moss has 20 and Reddick has 31.