A's deal a blow to Rangers' hopes

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - Rajai Davis scored the first run, then matched a career best with four RBI for the Oakland Athletics, who hurt the Texas Rangers' playoff chances with a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.

Texas is 1-4 on its homestand and 51/2 games behind AL wild-card leader Boston. The Rangers suddenly have their largest deficit for a playoff spot this season with 18 games remaining.

David Murphy’s leadoff homer in the fourth inning snapped the Rangers’ 22-inning scoreless streak, their longest in five years, but they were down 4-1 and didn’t score again.

Craig Breslow (7-7) worked two scoreless innings in relief for the last-place Athletics, who have won seven of nine.

Michael Young returned to the Texas lineup as the designated hitter after missing two weeks because of a strained left hamstring, but the All-Star third baseman left after he flied out his only at-bat in the first inning.

The Rangers said there was no physical problem but that Young, who reported that he felt OK and just wanted another day or two before playing full-time again. Young had said he was targeting this weekend’s series against the Angels for his return, but he tested himself by running the bases before the game and was back in the lineup several days earlier than expected.

Davis, who finished with three hits, put the A’s ahead to stay when he reached on a fielder’s choice in the first, stole his 37th base and went to third on catcher Ivan Rodriguez’s throwing error before scoring on Ryan Sweeney’s groundout.

Davis drew a bases-loaded walk in the second off Brandon McCarthy (7-3), had a two-run single in the fourth and another run-scoring single in the sixth. Davis was caught stealing after a leadoff single in the eighth.

McCarthy, who had won his two previous starts after nearly three months on the disabled list (stress fracture in right shoulder blade), gave up four runs before leaving in the fourth.

Oakland starter Edgar Gonzalez was pulled after allowing the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters to reach base starting the fifth.

Rangers hard-throwing rookie Neftali Feliz struck out the last three batters with the bases loaded in the sixth after giving up two runs on a leadoff triple, two walks (one with the bases loaded), a hit batsman and Davis’ single. Feliz had allowed only two runs over 232/3 innings in his first 13 major league appearances.