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Down to the wire in West

Three-game series to decide winner

Ichiro Suzuki went home without the major league hits record, thanks to Oakland's determined pitching staff -- and a much bigger hit by shortstop Bobby Crosby.

Suzuki got his 256th hit to move within one of George Sisler's record, but Crosby homered in the ninth to give the A's a 3-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners yesterday, tying Oakland (90-69) with Anaheim for the West lead.

And there won't be a one-game playoff, either: The division champion will be determined in a season-ending three-game series starting today at Networks Associates Coliseum.

Jermaine Dye also homered for the A's, who had fallen out of first place Wednesday night for the first time since Aug. 5. Early in the game, Oakland's fans cheered when the final score of Anaheim's 6-3 loss was posted on the outfield scoreboard.

Suzuki had a run-scoring single in the third inning, pulling Seattle's superb leadoff hitter within one hit of tying Sisler's 84-year-old record of 257.

He might have had another chance to tie it -- if the game had gone to extra innings.

Suzuki struggled against three Oakland pitchers well aware of the record, going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts.

Rangers 6, Angels 3 -- Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs with a pair of singles and Texas beat Anaheim in its home finale, a day after being eliminated from playoff contention.

Gonzalez, a rookie first baseman getting his first start since April, hit a two-run single that chased erratic John Lackey (14-13) in a four-run outburst in the fifth that gave Texas a 5-1 lead.

Lackey had a season-high five walks with seven strikeouts over just 4 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs on seven hits, and the Rangers left the bases loaded against him twice.

Vladimir Guerrero went 4 for 4 with two homers (Nos. 37 and 38) for the Angels (90-69), who had regained sole possession of first place in the West by winning the first three games in Texas.

Texas (87-72) snapped a four-game losing streak and a stretch of five losses in six days since sweeping three from the A's last week.

The Rangers finished 51-31 at home, matching the team's second-most home wins, and high-fived fans after the game.

Elsewhere -- At St. Petersburg, Fla., Toby Hall hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 6-4 victory and a split of their doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. Jeremy Bonderman threw a four-hitter and Ivan Rodriguez hit his 250th career homer to lead the Tigers past the Devil Rays, 8-0, in the opener . . . Miguel Tejada homered and drove in three runs to boost his major league-leading RBI total to 146, and host Baltimore cruised past Toronto, 9-3 . . . Mark Buehrle pitched a four-hitter for his fourth complete game of the season, leading the Chicago White Sox over the Royals, 9-2, at Kansas City, Mo.

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