Rangers Beat A's 9-8

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Hank Blalock homered and drove in four runs, leading the Texas Rangers to a 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

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 AL West.

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.

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.

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.

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.