OAKLAND -- Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler started a breathtaking double play in the sixth inning on Wednesday afternoon. With a runner on first and nobody out, Kinsler ranged far to his right on Eric Chavez's grounder, made a backhanded grab and, almost instantly, flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Elvis Andrus at second. Andrus' relay to first completed the double play. "That was awesome," pitcher Colby Lewis said.
"It was fun, but it would have been better if we would have won," Kinsler said. The Rangers didn't. Instead they dropped their second straight to the Athletics with a 4-1 loss at the Coliseum and dropped out of first place in the American League West after finishing 4-2 on their six-game West Coast trip. Kinsler turned the best double play of the afternoon but that was the only one turned by the Rangers. The Athletics turned three behind their pitchers in critical situations and they made a huge difference on the afternoon. "That killed some rallies but you have to give their pitchers the credit for making the pitches in those situations," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We just couldn't get the big hits when we needed them." The Rangers, in addition to hitting into three double plays, were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon against Athletics starter Trevor Cahill and three relievers. The Athletics were 1-for-9 themselves but they had a couple of ground balls that scored runs rather than kill rallies. Cahill went five innings, giving up one unearned run, to earn his fourth victory in five starts against the Rangers. He is 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA against the Rangers since the start of the 2009 season. Since that time, Seattle's Felix Hernandez is the only other pitcher to beat the Rangers four times and Scott Kazmir is the only pitcher with at least 17 innings that has a lower ERA. "He's a good pitcher but ..." Kinsler said. "It happens in baseball. I don't have an explanation. He pitched well and got them through five but it's not like he went seven or eight innings. He pitched a good ballgame, but we feel like we can beat anybody." Cahill was making his second start for the Athletics. Last Friday he gave up eight runs in five innings and lost 10-2 to the Blue Jays. "I mixed it up pretty good, I think that was the biggest difference," Cahill said. "Last game when I had to make a pitch it seemed like they hit a home run. Today I was able to get some double plays in big situations, so that helped out." Rangers starter Colby Lewis, like Scott Feldman on Tuesday night, outlasted the Athletics' starter but still ended up with a loss. He allowed three runs in six innings and suffered his first loss on the season. He is now 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA. "A lot of times out there I felt like I was forcing my pitches," Lewis said. "I didn't mix my pitches well, but overall I battled. It's just one of those things ... it doesn't always work out." For the second straight night, the Rangers also found themselves trailing 2-0 early. Lewis started the bottom of the first by giving up a single to Cliff Pennington. Daric Barton, hitting .188 in his last eight games, then hit a ground-rule double over the wall in deep center to put runners on second and third. "Barton's ball didn't sound good off the bat," Lewis said. "I thought it was going to be a fly ball but the way the wind was blowing, it carried and fell in." The Athletics made the most of their opportunity with the kind of offensive execution that the Rangers are trying to accomplish. Ryan Sweeney hit a ground ball to first base that scored one run and, with Barton moving to third, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grounder to Andrus that scored a second run. Eric Patterson added a home run off Lewis in the fifth inning to make it 3-0. Lewis was still able to get through six innings, marking the 11th straight game the Rangers starting pitcher has worked at least that deep in the game. That's the longest such streak since 2001. "Colby was Colby ... I thought he threw the ball well," Washington said. "He needed better run support but we couldn't get any runs on the board." Instead Max Ramirez led off the third with a walk and Julio Borbon grounded into a double play. A one-out walk by Ramirez and a single by Borbon in the fifth was followed by Andrus grounding into a double play. The Rangers finally got a run in the sixth after Michael Young, leading off the inning, reached on Kouzmanoff's error at third. Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero followed with a pair of singles that scored Young and left runners on second and first. But reliever Tyson Ross got Kinsler to hit into a double play with a grounder right at second baseman Adam Rosales and the rally short-circuited.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.