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TEX@OAK: Weeks launches his first career homer

OAKLAND -- Ever since his early June arrival, Jemile Weeks has found a way to keep himself in conversation, whether by way of his speed, his grit or any other intriguing facet of his game.

It's a safe bet that "home run hitter" will never be added to that list. But the A's rookie got to experience the feeling of one for at least a day on Thursday, as he collected his first big league homer as part of a three-hit day in a 4-3 A's win over the Rangers.

"We've seen him come up with a lot of big hits for us over the course of the time he's been here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think the homer probably put a little extra pep in his step today. I told him, 'That's one. You got it out of the way. Don't worry about any more.'

"He seems to be bigger and bigger in big situations and a guy we count on."

"Jemile Weeks is a pretty good hitter, and he's going to be a good hitter for a long time," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Weeks was just a triple shy of the cycle and was responsible for scoring three of the club's four runs, including the first and final ones -- the last a go-ahead tally buoyed by an RBI single from Coco Crisp against Texas righty Mike Adams in the decisive eighth inning.

The speedy duo's efforts erased what was a 3-2 Rangers lead and treated fans present for the last home game of the season to quite the entertaining affair, which prevented a three-game sweep. All the while, Texas' magic number remained at three.

"Our fans were big for us today, they really were," Melvin said. "They were into it big time at the end. We wanted to play well on the last day. The group that comes out here is so passionate and vocal. We have 15,000 fans out here sometimes and it sounds like 30,000."

"That was a big deal for me," Weeks said. "I came in with my normal approach trying to get it done against this tough team out here, and for me to go out and have a big day meant a lot to me, and I know it meant a lot to the fans. They've been supportive all the way through for me, and what more can I ask for? Grateful fans, that's what you want as a player."

Weeks' homer was a sixth-inning leadoff shot off Texas starter Colby Lewis that found its way over the right-field wall, snapping a streak of 90 consecutive games without a long ball -- marking the second-longest such career-opening streak since Mike Bordick went 132 games before hitting his first home run on May 10, 1992.

The A's second baseman, who upped his season average to .303, was more than happy to see that streak come to an end, if for no other reason to rid himself of the daily ribbing from playfully mocking teammates.

"Every day, I got something said about me or someone telling me something about the home run deal, but I think it's all in fun, and I took it all in fun," he said. "They definitely gave me the silent treatment when I came in, but they all came back to congratulate me."

Among that group was righty Trevor Cahill, who in his past two starts has showcased more of the same consistency recognizable from the beginning of the season, when he began the year 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA. Entering Thursday, he was 5-14 with a 5.27 ERA since that time but, for a second straight start, displayed a respectable showing, giving up three runs on 10 hits with one walk and one strikeout.

Cahill threw 94 pitches -- 61 for strikes -- while boosting his season innings total to 200 2/3, a career high. That number will escalate again on Tuesday, when the young righty makes his final start of the year in Seattle.

"He threw a lot more strikes than balls, he got ahead in the count and gave up some hits, but when you're working with strike one and ahead of the count, it gives you that much more confidence as a pitcher," Melvin said. "That's a lineup you want to be picky with, but I think he had enough of that and threw the ball over the plate and trusted his stuff."

Confidence, Cahill agreed, served him well, as he finished the year 3-2 with a 3.10 ERA in six starts against the Rangers.

"I think, for some reason, I always feel sharp against them," he said.

"We've always played Texas pretty good in the past and this year they've beaten us up pretty good. To kind of finish on a positive note is good, plus to get some momentum going into Anaheim because they're going to be playing us hard."

The Angels are still within striking distance of the Rangers in the American League West, though their Wild Card chances remain stronger. Either way, the A's this weekend could ultimately stand in the way of the Halos and a postseason berth.

Melvin wouldn't mind such a scenario. In the meantime, he'll be soaking up his club's victory over Texas, a team that had claimed 12 of the last 13 from Oakland.

"That's a team, if you can't get up for playing those guys, they continually give it to you and, as a team, you have to find a reason to not like, and you have to motivate yourself even more so," he said. "They're a good club and you respect them, but a team that beats up on you like that, you better have a little extra hate for them, and I'm glad we came back and won that game."

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