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09/24/10 12:58 AM ET

Rangers look to trim magic number to two

Texas leads Oakland in the American League West by seven games with 10 games to play. The Rangers' magic number is four. The club's play the second of four games on Friday.

The A's don't seem to be bothered by the baseball math. On Thursday, Oakland, behind a stellar performance from Dallas Braden, pulled a number on the Rangers and shut them down en route to 5-0 victory.

The Rangers' magic will have to wait.

On Friday, it will be up Bobby Cramer to keep Oakland rolling. Cramer has won two games to start his big league career and sports a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings this season. He's also given up three home runs.

The 30-year-old journeyman will finish out the season as Oakland's fifth starter and is headed toward the biggest start of his career. In his last outing, he gave up two runs in five innings against the Twins.

"I didn't really have nerves the first time, but a couple of times during the game I had a chance to sit back and think about what was going on," Cramer said. "It was a little overwhelming, but this time the guys went out and put up three in the first and it really helped me relax and settle down."

The Rangers, who have split their last 10 games, could use a strong start from Tommy Hunter. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA in his last five starts. He allowed two runs in six innings in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

Hunter beat Oakland, 7-3, on Aug. 27 by holding them to three runs in 7 2/3 innings.

Rangers at a glance
It's already been quite a season for Texas. The Rangers have spent 144 days in first place, the most in any season since a club-record 179 days in 1999, and the third-most in a campaign in team history. ... In his first full Major League season as a starter, C.J. Wilson has gone 14-7 with a 3.15 ERA and leads the team in wins, starts (31), innings (194), quality starts (20) and ERA. Wilson will pitch Monday in Seattle. ... Elvis Andrus is the first Texas player to steal at least 30 bases in consecutive seasons since Tom Goodwin in 1998-99. ... Michael Young's 86 RBIs are the most he's racked up since driving in 94 in 2007.

Athletics around the horn
Andrew Bailey will undergo season-ending surgery on his right elbow on Friday. ... Ryan Sweeney, who is recovering from season-ending right knee surgery in Iowa, had an MRI exam on his left knee this week. The club has not determined if he needs surgery. ... The A's have 144 stolen bases, the most since the club stole 151 in 1991. They have three players (Coco Crisp, Cliff Pennington and Rajai Davis) with 20 or more steals for the first time since 1992. ... The club has won 10 of its last 11 home series with one split and has not lost a series at the Coliseum since being swept by the Yankees on July 5-7.

Worth noting
Ron Washington has increased win totals in each of his last two years as manager of the Rangers, and would do it again with four more wins this year. Should the Rangers qualify for the playoffs, Washington will join Rangers Hall of Famer Johnny Oates as the only managers to guide Texas to the postseason. Washington's 325 wins are already the third-most in team history, trailing only Bobby Valentine (581) and Oates (506).

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.