ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Josh Reddick drove in three runs, Scott Kazmir won for the first time in seven starts and the Oakland Athletics moved ever so close to their third consecutive playoff appearance with a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
The A’s snapped a three-game losing streak.
Any Oakland victory or Seattle loss in the last two days of the regular season would get the A’s back in the playoffs after winning the division the past two seasons.
Reddick led off the fourth with his 12th homer, and an inning later added a two-run single to make it 6-1.
Adam Dunn, the big designated hitter batting in the No. 2 spot for the first time since June 2008, had a two-run double in the third for Oakland (87-73).
Texas had its five-game winning streak snapped. Only their second loss in 14 games assured the Rangers (66-94) will finish last in the AL West after Houston (70-90) won at the New York Mets on Friday night.
Nick Tepesch (5-11) allowed six runs and six hits, with four walks, in 4 1/3 innings.
Kazmir (15-9) struck out five without a walk while limiting the Rangers to two runs (one earned) and four hits over seven innings.
The lefty was 0-4 with an 8.58 ERA his previous six starts since his last win Aug. 19. The 15 wins are a career high, but only four of those have come since the All-Star break.
The A’s were a season-best 28 games over .500 and had a four-game lead in the AL West on Aug. 10. But they lost 29 of their next 43 games and entered the final weekend of the regular season still without a playoff spot secured.
Texas led 1-0 right away, when Leonys Martin had a leadoff single, stole second and scored on Ryan Rua’s double. But Kazmir then retired 10 in a row, and the Rangers didn’t score again until an unearned run in the fifth.
Martin’s RBI grounder drove in Rougned Odor, who reached after first baseman Brandon Moss’ error when he threw behind Kazmir, who was going to cover first base.
Athletics: OF Craig Gentry, who hasn’t played since sustaining a concussion in a game Sept. 9, felt good a day after watching some pitches in the bullpen and getting on the field. “We’re now at the point where you can target some baseball activity,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Rangers: Interim manager Tim Bogar would like to get OF Jim Adduci in a game this weekend. “Just make sure that he’s mentally OK with everything before he leaves here,” Bogar said. Adduci sustained a concussion Aug. 28 and is still dealing with a pinkie issue.
Athletics: RHP Jeff Samardzija, one of the midseason additions, is set to start the third game of the series. He is 2-2 in his past six starts despite a 1.40 ERA in that span.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (2-0) makes his sixth and final start after missing the first five months of the season rehabbing from microfracture surgery on his left knee. He got hurt when he was tripped by his dog on the stairs at his house during the offseason.