With the Angels and Red Sox falling on Tuesday, the Rangers missed a change to gain ground in the AL West and Wild Card races, remaining at 7 1/2 and seven games out, respectively.
Cahill pitched seven shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over the Rangers last week in Arlington. This one wasn't quite as dominating, but he is still 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against Texas this season. Overall, he is 11-13 with a 4.45 ERA.
"He can pitch," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's got something on his fastball, and he can move it around. He's got a good changeup, works fast and puts the ball in the strike zone. He's got good stuff."
"This was one of his better outings," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "The last game in Texas was hard to top, but to come back and face the same team again the next start is impressive. They just saw him."
Brandon McCarthy, on the other hand, has lost two straight to Oakland and three of his four starts against them this season. He lost, 6-1, in Arlington on Aug. 15, when he allowed four runs in three innings. He also lost a head-to-head matchup against Cahill back on May 7 when the Athletics won, 9-4. He is 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against Oakland.
"I can still command the strike zone, and I didn't tonight," McCarthy said. "Even if a team is hard for me, I still have to do a good job -- or do a better job than I did tonight -- of keeping us in the game."
Cahill's first Major League victory came against the Rangers on May 7. Texas has really made his season. He has two victories against the Royals -- the only other team he has beaten more than once.
"They are known as a pretty good team," Cahill said. "I just think I got lucky. I had some of my best stuff against them two or three times. Tonight I didn't have my best stuff but I got lucky and got some double plays."
McCarthy wasn't bad, but one crucial miscalculation by right fielder Nelson Cruz in the second inning cost him two runs. McCarthy set it up though with a one-out walk to Jack Cust.
With two outs, Daric Barton smacked a sharp line drive to right. Cruz came in and tried to make a diving catch and missed.
"I was just trying to make a play out there," Cruz said. "It just hit off the end of my glove. If I had turned my glove the other way, I would have had a better chance."
The ball got behind him, and Cust raced around to score. Second baseman Ian Kinsler's relay to the plate was up the line and got away from catcher Ivan Rodriguez, allowing Barton to come home as well.
"Normally I don't like to run past second," Barton said. "But he dove, I got to third and all I heard was, 'Go, go, go.' I had to get my legs going again. I was a little tired after that."
Washington deemed it the key play of the game.
"If we play the ball safely, it's still two outs," Washington said. "The next guy pops out, and we're out of the inning. If you go for that ball, you've got to get it. He tried to make a play and didn't make it."
A pair of leadoff singles by Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki and a two-out single by Barton in the fourth against McCarthy gave the Athletics a 3-0 lead.
Cahill's 12-inning scoreless streak against the Rangers came to end in the sixth inning when Andrus led off with a single, stole second and scored on a double by David Murphy. Then came another big defensive play. Marlon Byrd hit a fly to left-center that Rajai Davis ran down. Murphy tried to tag up, but Davis gunned him down with a terrific throw to cut short the rally.
"It still should have been 1-1 after six," Washington said.
That was Cahill's last inning, but the Rangers couldn't do anything against relievers Craig Breslow, Jerry Blevins and Brad Ziegler. The Athletics broke it open with five runs off Willie Eyre in the seventh.
Cahill allowed six hits and two walks, but the Rangers were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on the night. The Athletics are 10-7 against Texas season and have secured a season-series win.