Tommy Milone tossed five solid innings in a fill-in start, and the Oakland Athletics dealt a potential death blow to the Texas Rangers' AL West title hopes with a 5-1 decision that completed a sweep of a three-game series between the division rivals.
The loss, which concluded an 0-6 homestand for the fading Rangers and was the club's ninth in 10 games, moved Oakland 6 1/2 games up on Texas in the standings heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. The Rangers remain tied with Tampa Bay for the league's two wild card berths after the Rays fell to Minnesota on Sunday.
"We have a good lead but...we don't want to get too comfortable," A's third baseman Josh Donaldson said.
Pressed into duty with Jarrod Parker scratched due to an illness, Milone (11-9) scattered six hits and struck out five while limiting the Rangers to one run. He was aided by three homers from his Oakland teammates, including a two-run shot from Josh Reddick that capped a 2-for-4 day.
Chris Young and Donaldson added solo homers in the win, the A's fifth straight and eighth in nine outings, with Young finishing 2-for-4.
Jim Adduci collected three hits for Texas and A.J. Pierzynski had an RBI single in defeat. Martin Perez (9-5) lasted 6 1/3 innings, permitting three runs on seven hits.
"I'm not sure what's going on," a confused Ron Washington said regarding his club. "I've never witnessed this before."
Most of Oakland's damage against Perez came early on. Singles by Coco Crisp and Young to begin the game quickly put runners at the corners, with the former scoring on Jed Lowrie's double-play grounder for a 1-0 edge.
Donaldson followed with a line drive that landed just inside the left-field foul pole to extend the A's advantage to two runs.
Texas countered with a run in its half of the first, the result of three singles from Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Pierzynski in a stretch of four at-bats, but Milone settled down to quiet the Ranger bats over the remainder of his stint.
He worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second, then proceeded to set down nine of the next 11 hitters before giving way to Dan Otero to begin the bottom of the sixth.
Young gave some Milone some additional breathing room by belting Perez's 3-1 pitch into the visitors' bullpen with two outs in the third.
Texas had an opportunity to close the gap against Otero after singles by Jurickson Profar and Adduci created a first-and-third, one-out situation. However, the Oakland reliever got David Murphy to fly out to shallow left and eventually got out of the inning unscathed.
The Rangers stranded two more in the seventh and didn't put a runner on against the combo of Sean Doolittle and Jesse Chavez from that point on.
Texas left 10 men on base for the game and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Reddick's homer that came after a walk to pinch-hitter Brandon Moss in the ninth put the game out of reach.