ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yoenis Cespedes had one of Oakland's two triples in the first inning and the Athletics jumped out to a quick lead in a 9-3 victory at Texas on Wednesday night to pull within three games of the AL West-leading Rangers.
The Athletics, who had played five consecutive one-run games, led 5-0 only eight batters into the game. They chased Martin Perez (1-3) before the rookie left-hander got all the way through the batting order.
Oakland has won two of three in the series that wraps up with a day game Thursday. After that, the A's go home for a three-game weekend series against Seattle before hosting the Rangers for the final three games of the regular season next week.
Stephen Drew had four of Oakland's 16 hits, including a double leading off the game before scoring on Cespedes' triple into the right-center gap.
The only Oakland starter without a hit was No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington. Even Josh Reddick ended a career-long 0-for-30 slump with singles in the seventh and ninth innings.
Rookie righty Jarrod Parker (12-8) won his third consecutive decision over four starts. He struck out eight in six innings, and his 109 pitches were his most since 111 on June 4, when he threw eight scoreless innings and allowed only one hit against the Rangers in Oakland.
Oakland had a 2 1/2-game lead over the Angels for the AL's second wild card. Los Angeles was playing at home later Wednesday night against Seattle.
The magic number remained at five for the two-time defending American League champion Rangers, who host the Angels for three games this weekend.
Matt Harrison (17-10), the All-Star left-hander, starts for Texas in the series finale, when he will try to become the Rangers' first 18-game winner since Kenny Rogers in 2004. He faces lefty Travis Blackley (5-3).
The Athletics set an AL record for striking out the most in a season with their 11 against six Texas pitchers. They have 1,333, nine more than Tampa Bay had in 2007, and they still have seven games left.
After Cespedes' one-out triple, the A's had three consecutive singles. The last was Josh Donaldson's grounder up the middle that then rolled under the glove of center fielder Josh Hamilton for a two-base error, making it 4-0. Derek Norris tripled to left-center on a liner Hamilton appeared to misplay and let get over his head.
A night after Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start because of neck stiffness, and Scott Feldman and five other relievers were needed in a 10-inning loss, the Rangers were already back in their bullpen before the end of the first inning.
Wilmer Font, the third Texas pitcher, walked the only two batters he faced to start the third before Drew's two-run single made it 7-3. Moss doubled and scored on a single by Norris an inning later.
Parker walked leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler before Elvis Andrus doubled off the left-center field wall. Michael Young and David Murphy had consecutive singles to start the second, scoring on a fielder's choice grounder and a sacrifice fly by Andrus that made it 5-3.
Chris Carter's strikeout in the second inning was the third of the game for the A's, and pushed them past the 2007 Rays. Oakland already is well past its previous franchise mark of 1,226 strikeouts in 2008.
Carter was the second of three consecutive batters who struck out against Roy Oswalt. Yoshinori Tateyama struck out four in 2 1/3 innings, and was the only Rangers pitcher who didn't allow a base runner.