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Rogers Lifts A's Over Rangers

Considering the recent run support he's received, Kenny Rogers felt three runs were plenty on Wednesday night.

Rogers pitched 7 1-3 innings to beat his former team and the Oakland Athletics took advantage of two errors by Texas first baseman Will Clark for a 3-2 win over the Rangers.

"They splurged for me tonight," said Rogers, who had gotten just six runs in his previous four starts.

The Athletics have won four straight games, but Rogers had been winless since May 9 despite a 2.55 ERA in his previous six starts.

"He didn't know how to act with all those runs," A's manager Art Howe said. "It's been a long time coming, but he kept pitching great. Tonight it looked for a while like one run would be enough the way he was throwing. He'd probably be 12-2 this season if he got any runs."

Rogers (7-3) improved his career mark to 3-1 against the Rangers, whom he won 70 games for from 1989-95. The left-hander had been scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday with stiffness in his back.

He took a shutout into the eighth inning before running into trouble. With one out, Rogers hit Luis Alicea and Roberto Kelly's homer brought the Rangers within 3-2.

"It actually was a pretty good pitch, an outside sinker, but he went with it," said Rogers, who struck out six and walked one.

Billy Taylor pitched the ninth for his 13th save.

"We're glad to get the win for Kenny," Taylor said. "He's pitched his heart out and kept us in games."

The slumping Rangers have lost three straight and six of seven.

Rogers allowed only one hit in the first four innings before the Rangers put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth. But Rogers retired Fernando Tatis on a foul pop and got Alicea on a grounder to preserve a 2-0 lead.

Oakland scored a run in the first off John Burkett (4-7), who has won only once in his last seven starts.

Ben Grieve reached on Clark's fielding error and went to third on Matt Stairs' single. Mike Blowers then hit an RBI double.

The A's made it 2-0 in the second with the help of another fielding lapse by Clark. Miguel Tejada singled and was forced at second. A.J. Hinch's single moved Christenson to third where he scored ahead of Clark's high throw to the plate on Rickey Henderson's grounder.

Oakland made it 3-0 in the eighth when Clark made his third fielding blunder of the night and second error. Blowers singled and went to third on Tejada's single. Tejada took off for second on a steal attempt, then headed back to first when it appeared that Rodriguez's throw to second would easily beat him.

In the ensuing rundown, Clark had the ball knocked out of his glove by Tejada for an error, allowing Blowers to score from third.

"I'm not going t make excuses," said Clark, who has six errors in his last 11 games. "I didn't help John. I booted the first one and got too close to the runner on the second. When things are going well, you can get away with mistakes."

Burkett allowed three runs one earned and 11 hits in 7 2-3 innings.

Notes: The Rangers activated Kevin Elster from the 15-day disabled list and optioned infielder Scott Sheldon to Triple-A Oklahoma. ... Rodriguez was back in the lineup after missing four straight games with a sprained ankle. ... Oakland placed second baseman Scott Spiezio on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 15 with torn cartilage in his left knee. The A's recalled catcher Izzy Molina from Triple-A Edmonton. ... Texas manager Johnny Oates says he still doesn't know who he'll start Saturday at Anaheim. "Anybody with a heartbeat and a `P' behind his name is a candidate, unless his name is (John) Wetteland," Oates said. ... Rogers has pitched at least seven innings in 10 of his 14 starts.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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