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A's forge 1st-place tie with 3-1 win over Rangers

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 1:31 am •  Published: October 3, 2012

Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook each pitched a scoreless inning and Grant Balfour worked a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 26 chances. Balfour has three saves and a win in the last four days.

"As long as we believe inside this clubhouse and we know we can get it down, we're going to do it. I honestly believe we're going to win tomorrow," Balfour said. "Nothing is guaranteed, but it's about as good as. I believe we can go out and get it done."

The Rangers never expected to be in this position. But they have lost six of eight games and need one more victory to win their third straight division title.

"We have a great opportunity tomorrow," third baseman Michael Young said. "The way I see it we can start our run tomorrow. We're looking forward to it. We played in games like this before and the 'W' is all that matters. There's nothing like it. This is what baseball and big leagues is all about."

Texas had been counting on Harrison (18-11) to wrap up the title but he couldn't come through. He had been cruising along, retiring 10 straight batters before running into trouble in the fifth. Josh Donaldson led off with a single and advanced to third on Brandon Moss' double. Norris then lined a single to right field that scored Donaldson with the tying run. Third base coach Mike Gallego initially held up Moss, but Cruz bobbled the ball for an error that allowed Moss to score.

Oakland tacked on an insurance run when Gomes hit his 18th homer with two outs in the sixth to make it 3-1, delighting the crowd of 30,660.

NOTES: The A's estimated a walk-up crowd of 12,000. ... The gametime temperature of 87 degrees was the warmest of the year in Oakland. ... The other teams to come back from at least 13 games down were the 1914 Boston Braves, the 1951 New York Giants, the '78 Yankees and the '95 Seattle Mariners. ... Oakland reliever Pat Neshek will miss the final two games for the birth of his first child. ... Texas RHP Mike Adams rejoined the team after receiving a cortisone injection in his strained neck Monday. It is unknown when he will be able to pitch again.