Click photo to enlarge
<caption> Oakland Athletics' Adam Kennedy is congratulated by teammates following his home run off Texas Rangers' Frank Francisco in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, May 31, 2009. Oakland won 5-4. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) </caption>

ARLINGTON, Texas — The A's managed to close out a tough series, and another tough month, with a victory Sunday afternoon.

Their 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers hardly came in conventional style, but with the current state of things, they're in no position to be picky.

The A's blew a 4-0 lead, then needed Adam Kennedy's second homer of the day, in the top of the ninth off closer Frank Francisco, to go back on top.

That allowed rookie right-hander Andrew Bailey, who let a 4-2 lead slip away in the eighth, to close things out in the ninth and snap the A's four-game losing streak.

They salvaged the finale of an otherwise miserable weekend against the American League West leaders, as Texas swept Friday's doubleheader and then pounded Oakland 14-1 on Saturday.

"It's a win for the team, a big win that we needed," Bailey said.

No arguments there.

Whether it has any effect on the A's big picture this season is another story. They begin a four-game series in Chicago today against the White Sox with a 19-29 record, 10 games behind the first-place Rangers.

The A's followed up an 8-11 April record with an 11-18 mark in May, the first time they've posted losing records in the first two months since 1998.

The A's have shown in recent seasons that they're capable of overcoming a slow start. But with the number of key players on this year's team currently on the disabled list, the potential for such a turnaround seems like a long shot.

Thus, the A's will likely face some key decisions in the coming weeks.

Do they consider trading some of their veterans? Left fielder Matt Holliday, a free agent after this season, has been the target of trade speculation since the A's first acquired him in November. Infielder Bobby Crosby's name also has been floating in the rumor mill as a target for contending teams.

Given the A's injuries, it's doubtful they would become buyers near the July 31 trade deadline.

Discussing his team's current state before Sunday's victory, A's manager Bob Geren remained optimistic that the team would start playing better.

"Have our injuries hurt us a little? Yes," Geren said. "But our lack of offense from the guys that have been here is probably what needs to improve the most. "... I think the offense is going to pick it up, and the young pitching is getting better." Kennedy, hitting .377 with four homers in 21 games with the A's, enjoyed his first multi-homer game since May 10, 2002.

His homer off Francisco in the ninth, a bomb to the second deck in right, was the first earned run Francisco had allowed in 31 appearances dating back to last season.

Kennedy went deep in the first off Kevin Millwood. Jason Giambi added a solo shot in the second, and the A's tacked on two more in the seventh to go up 4-0.

Dallas Braden threw six shutout innings but left in the seventh after cutting his left thumb.

Craig Breslow relieved him and gave up a two-run double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia to make it 4-2.

Geren called on Bailey to relieve Michael Wuertz in the eighth, but Texas tied the game on Hank Blalock's RBI single to right and Marlon Byrd's infield dribbler to third that Jack Hannahan couldn't bare-hand, allowing Nelson Cruz to score.

Contact Joe Stiglich at jstiglic@bayareanewsgroup.com.

A'S 5,
RANGERS 4
  • TODAY: A's (Trevor Cahill 2-5) at White Sox (Bartolo Colon 3-4), 5:11 p.m. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 860-AM; 1640-AM