OAKLAND -- The Rangers are 23-14 against the American League West this year. They have beaten Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Felix Hernandez and some other pretty good pitchers. They just can't get to Oakland right-hander Trevor Cahill. For the fourth time this season, he matched up against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis and for the fourth time the A's emerged victorious. The Rangers could have put an end to that hex after a couple of unearned runs gave them a lead in the top of the sixth, but the A's rallied for a 3-2 victory at the Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers finished up 4-5 on their West Coast road trip and now lead the A's by 7 1/2 games in the AL West.
"Oakland is not going any place," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But I'm not worried about the A's. We need to take care of our own business. They're not going away because they've got good pitching and they've got a bunch of scrappy guys who play the game hard. They execute. If their pitching keeps them in the game, they're tough." Cahill did just that on Sunday afternoon and is now 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his four starts against the Rangers. "He's one of those frustrating guys ... we feel like we should beat him every time," David Murphy said. "He just works magic with that sinker. He keeps it down and seems to always get us." Lewis hasn't been bad in those four starts. He has a 2.77 ERA in those four games and has held the A's to a .198 batting average. The A's, after going 0-for-11 on Sunday afternoon, are hitless in 24 at-bats against him with runners in scoring position this year. But they were still able to dig this one out. "It's just one of those deals ... in the past we haven't scored a lot of runs against him," Lewis said. "You know you have to keep it close and try to get outs. But I put myself in a lot of tough situations." The one that bothered Washington was the sixth after the Rangers had scored two in the top of the inning with the help of a couple of errors by the A's. Elvis Andrus led off by reaching on shortstop Cliff Pennington's error, then went to second on Michael Young's hit-and-run grounder to second baseman Mark Ellis. Josh Hamilton followed with a single to left, bringing home Andrus. Hamilton, on the throw to the plate, tried for second and kept on going when catcher Kurt Suzuki bounced his throw into center field. That allowed him to score on Nelson Cruz's sacrifice fly and give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. But Lewis couldn't keep it there. Instead he lost his shutout in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff double by Kevin Kouzmanoff. Ellis moved him to third with a grounder to the right side and Rajai Davis brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center. "The sixth inning was the big inning," Washington said. "That was the one time we were hoping for a 1-2-3 inning and it didn't happen. The guy leading off doubled and then they played the game, they got him over and got him in. At that point in the ballgame, you've got two runs you want to see a zero out there." Said Lewis, who is winless in his past four starts despite a 3.12 ERA, "I felt like I was working with runners in scoring position in every inning, but I felt like I was going to get out of it again. I made a good pitch to Davis but he got it up and got the run in. The main thing I was upset with is I threw too many pitches and didn't good deep in the game." Instead Darren Oliver took over in the seventh and couldn't hold it as the A's took the lead with a pair of runs. Pennington led off with a single and scored on a double by Coco Crisp right down the line. Washington thought it was foul, but umpire Dan Bellino said otherwise. Landon Powell bunted Crisp to third and, after Darren O'Day replaced Oliver, Suzuki brought him home with another sacrifice fly to center. "Just a good piece of hitting by Pennington and a double down the line," Oliver said. "I wish I could make excuses, but there is no excuse." The Rangers had one final shot in the ninth against Oakland reliever Michael Wuertz, who is filling in as closer while Andrew Bailey is on the disabled list. Wuertz walked Bengie Molina, struck out Mitch Moreland and then walked Cristian Guzman. With two on and one out, Washington sent Vladimir Guerrero to the plate to pinch-hit for Julio Borbon. Guerrero did not start Sunday while trying to work out of a midsummer slump. This didn't help. Guerrero took a first-pitch slider in the dirt for a ball, then got another slider and hit it right at Pennington at shortstop for a game-ending double play. "Vladimir's not a guy you want to be facing with runners on first and second and one out," Wuertz said. "I made a pretty good pitch and luckily we got a double play." The A's have had much good luck against the Rangers this season when Cahill is on the mound. Good pitching, too.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.