OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics wanted to do whatever they could to get Chad Gaudin back in the win column after a rough outing last time against Texas.
Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer, Jack Cust doubled in two runs and the A's withstood the Rangers' late rally for a 6-5 victory Thursday night.
Gaudin (11-11) struck out eight in six innings to end a three-start winless stretch in which he was 0-2, leaving the game with a 6-1 lead.
"That was big for Chad to go out there and have a great start," Swisher said.
Cust gave the A's a 2-0 lead in the first. Swisher hit his 20th home run, a shot to left-center in the third inning, after Daric Barton's leadoff double. Jack Hannahan added an RBI double and Marco Scutaro had a sacrifice fly in the fifth to give Oakland, which ended a three-game losing streak to the Rangers, a 6-0 lead.
Michael Young had three hits, including a two-run double in the Rangers' four-run seventh that pulled them within 6-5 in the opener of a four-game series between the bottom two clubs in the AL West.
"No one wants to finish last," Swisher said.
Young's two-out single in the third extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games -- the longest this year by a Ranger -- but Texas saw the end of its three-game winning streak in the season series. The Rangers swept a series in Texas last weekend.
"We were close, real close," Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "We kept fighting, kept battling and have a chance to win this series. We're going to. We're coming out and going to win this series and finish up strong like we've been playing all year."
Gaudin, facing the Rangers for the second consecutive start, bounced back from allowing a season high-tying 10 hits Saturday in 3º innings -- which matched his shortest outing of the year. This time, he faced baserunners in every inning but was able to limit the damage after Jason Botts' leadoff single in the second.
This series marks the final return of the season for Washington, the Rangers' first-year skipper who was beloved as a third-base coach in his 11 years with Oakland.
"Wash, we still love you!" one woman hollered from above the Rangers' dugout.
The A's improved to 72-76 and are determined to finish with a winning record for the ninth year in a row. Only the New York Yankees (15) and Boston (10) have longer runs with above-.500 records.