ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ The Texas Rangers must've thought they could finish off the Oakland Athletics with one big win.

Juan Gonzalez had three home runs and five RBIs and Aaron Sele earned his 18th win, pushing Texas a step closer to the AL West title with a 12-4 victory over second-place Oakland on Friday night.

The Rangers, who had lost three straight, upped their lead to 6 1/2 games and trimmed their magic number to three. Texas can clinch a tie with a victory Saturday night, then could wrap up its third division crown in four years with a victory Sunday.

The A's actually led 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth, then starter Gil Heredia (13-8) fell apart and was quickly joined by his road-weary teammates.

Oakland was playing its fourth game in three days and three time zones. The A's were home Wednesday, then split a doubleheader Thursday in Baltimore. They arrived in Texas in the wee hours Friday.

Texas scored four in the fifth, six in the sixth and single runs in the seventh and eighth. Gonzalez had two-run homers in the fifth and sixth to nearly the same spot in the left-field seats, then sent the third one a bit higher and more toward the foul pole.

Although there was no doubt about any of them, he didn't celebrate until the third one. He slowed to admire the blast, pumped his fists and smiled toward the dugout to savor the third three-homer game of his career.

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