Oakland, California: Ramon Laureano led off two innings with home runs and Marcus Semien contributed a two-run homer to a four-run second Friday night, propelling the Oakland Athletics to an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series in Oakland, California.

A fourth win in their last five games allowed the A’s (85-57) to keep pace with the Houston Astros (88-53) in the American League West and the New York Yankees (88-53) in the AL wild-card race. Oakland remains 3 1/2 games behind in each pursuit. Laureano hit the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first from Yovani Gallardo (8-4) over the fence in left field to give the A’s a lead they never relinquished.