Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - The suddenly light-hitting Texas Rangers took a while to heat up, but the Oakland Athletics did just enough to hold them off.
It's becoming another September to remember for the A's.
Yoenis Cespedes smacked a three-run homer, while Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss cracked solo shots as Oakland held off Texas, 9-8, in the opener of a critical three-game set.
The A's had a 9-2 advantage after seven innings before the Rangers, who tallied just two hits through the first seven frames, erupted for six runs in the home eighth.
Adrian Beltre stepped up with the tying run, Alex Rios, at first with two outs in the frame. He ripped a base hit into left against Sean Doolittle, but Cespedes threw out Rios at third on a bang-bang play to end the threat.
Doolittle picked up the final four outs to notch his second save of the year. Robinson Chirinos slapped a two-out double down the right field line in the ninth, but Doolittle struck out Jurickson Profar to end the game.
Oakland, which was three games behind the Rangers on Aug. 30, has won 11 of 14 since and now hold a 4 1/2-game lead over them in the AL West.
Texas, meanwhile, has dropped nine of its last 11 tilts.