ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Eric Chavez hit one of Oakland’s four solo homers, and the Athletics stretched their winning streak to five with a 5-4 victory Saturday night over the Texas Rangers.

Nick Swisher, Dan Johnson and Jay Payton also connected off starter Ricardo Rodriguez as Oakland matched its season high for homers. The surging A’s have built a 31/2-game lead over the Rangers for second place in the AL West.

Mark Teixeira hit his 27th homer and Alfonso Soriano his 24th for Texas, which lost its fourth in a row and is 2-8 since the All-Star break.

Kirk Saarloos (6-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings to help the A’s beat the Rangers for the sixth time in seven meetings since the break. Kiko Calero, Ricardo Rincon and Jay Witasick combined to allow only one hit in 2 1-3 scoreless innings. Huston Street got three outs for his ninth save in 13 chances.

The A’s jumped on Rodriguez early with a solo homer from Swisher in the first and consecutive shots from Johnson and Payton in the second for a 3-0 lead.

Texas came back in the third on Teixeira’s three-run drive. He had been 6-for-36 since being the AL’s starting first baseman in the All-Star game.

The A’s went back in front 4-3 on Chavez’s 15th homer leading off the fourth, then got an RBI groundout from Bobby Crosby in the fifth to stretch their lead to 5-3.

Soriano’s shot in the sixth pulled Texas to 5-4.

Rodriguez (2-2) gave up five runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out three and walked four.

James Baldwin, added to the roster before the game after being claimed off waivers by Texas from Baltimore on Thursday, entered in the sixth. Baldwin allowed one hit in 2 1-3 shutout innings.

Notes: Swisher is 5-for-11 with two homers and eight RBIs in the first three games of the four-game series. … All six of Johnson’s homers this season have come with the bases empty. … Oakland got back-to-back homers for the first time this season. … Texas’ Hank Blalock was the DH for the first time in his major league career. … David Dellucci of the Rangers sat out with soreness in his hamstring, back and calf. … Soriano hit his 150th career homer.

AP-ES-07-23-05 2248EDT


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