OAKLAND, Calif. – Coco Crisp homered, hit two sacrifice flies and scored twice to back 10-game winner Gio Gonzalez, and the Oakland Athletics beat the first-place Texas Rangers 6-2 on Saturday.
Mark Ellis also had a sacrifice fly as Oakland quickly jumped on former A's ace Rich Harden. The A's snapped Texas' three-game winning streak and pulled within 8½ games of the Rangers in the AL West race.
Gonzalez (10-7) reached double digits in victories for the first time in parts of three major league seasons. The left-hander allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, struck out two and walked three.
Taylor Teagarden started the eighth with a drive off Jerry Blevins for the Rangers' first run. Crisp crashed into the center-field wall trying to make a leaping catch on Teagarden's shot and was briefly down, but stayed in the game.
The A's won for the ninth time in their last 10 day games and are a majors-best 26-11 in the afternoon. This was originally scheduled as a night game but was changed for TV.
"Even television's trying to give them a chance," Rangers manager Ron Washington quipped. "Son of a gun. They're out to get us."
Texas lost for only the eighth time in 22 games since the All-Star break. The Rangers couldn't get their offense going against Gonzalez after collecting 22 runs and 33 hits in their previous three games. David Murphy hit a ninth-inning RBI single.
Texas' 9½-game division lead to start the day was the second-largest in franchise history.
Matt Watson added an RBI double in the sixth for the A's, driving in speedy Rajai Davis from first. Crisp added his second sacrifice fly two batters later.
Harden (4-4) was already long since done. Things didn't start well for the right-hander, who beat the Angels last Saturday in Anaheim in his first start back from the disabled list following a strained muscle in left buttocks.
He allowed an infield single to Crisp leading off the first and walked three of the next four A's hitters, with Kevin Kouzmanoff drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring home Oakland's first run. Ellis followed with a sacrifice fly.
Gonzalez quickly found his groove, getting a 1-2-3 first on seven pitches. He allowed a pair of two-out singles in the second to Jorge Cantu and Murphy, but got Christian Guzman on an inning-ending strikeout.
Cliff Pennington hit his seventh triple of the season to start the fourth, then scored on Crisp's first sacrifice fly.
Crisp's fourth homer of the year in the second was just his second RBI since the All-Star break. It was Oakland's fourth homer in its last 12 games.
Teagarden earned another start at catcher for the Rangers a day after hitting a two-run homer. Washington talked to Bengie Molina about when he would play, and Molina will go Sunday.
NOTES: Davis stole his 33rd and 34th bases. ... Injured Oakland closer and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey reported feeling better but still wasn't ready to resume his throwing routine as he rehabs from a right rib cage strain. He didn't come out of his Wednesday catch session as well as he would have liked. ... Another former A's pitcher, Colby Lewis, starts Sunday's series finale for Texas. ... Washington is thrilled to hear the Rangers want ace Cliff Lee back beyond 2010 — and hopes the pitcher will decide to return. "That's a decision the player has to make," Washington said. "There's going to be quite a bit of competition out there. I certainly hope he wants to stay with the Rangers." ... Mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture, set to fight later Saturday at neighboring Oracle Arena, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He stopped into Washington's office before the game. Several Texas players were headed to the fight. "Randy, good luck," Washington said. "Don't hurt nobody."