A’s Cahill wins fifth straight against Rangers
OAKLAND – Coco Crisp practiced making spectacular catches in the outfield even when an injured hand kept him out of the lineup. The real thing just seemed routine.
Crisp had two hits, drove in a run, stole a base and robbed Bengie Molina of extra bases in helping the Oakland Athletics beat the first-place Texas Rangers 3-2 on Sunday.
“It’s tough playing the Rangers,” said Crisp, a career .292 hitter against them. “We just jumped on the back of our pitcher and tried to contribute. We’re chasing Texas so we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”
As for his fourth-inning grab high up the wall in center field?
“I was positioned well,” Crisp said. “When I first looked up it didn’t look like it was going that far. It caught a second wind but I had enough time to know where the fence was.”
Kurt Suzuki hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, Trevor Cahill allowed six hits through eight and the A’s won for the eighth time in their last 10 home games. Rajai Davis also drove in a run.
Cahill (12-4) won his fifth straight against the Rangers despite allowing two unearned runs in the sixth. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“I had been walking a lot of guys my past few starts so I was trying to throw strikes and let them hit it,” Cahill said. “No free passes.”
Darren Oliver (0-1) started the seventh, and gave up a single to Chad Pennington and an RBI double to Crisp before leaving the game.
Texas starter Colby Lewis failed to win his 10th game for a fourth consecutive start, although the Rangers were leading when he was replaced. He gave up a run on three hits over six innings, walking three and striking out seven.
“He never did have a 1-2-3 inning,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He had to keep making pitches, which he did. We put up two runs against Cahill and took the lead into the seventh inning. It just didn’t work out.”
Michael Wuertz pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances. He walked Molina and Cristian Guzman around a strikeout and then got pinch hitter Vladimir Guerrero to ground into a game-ending double play.
“It’s not the situation you want to be in,” Wuertz said. “With Vlad on the bench you know he’ll probably get a turn at bat. Walking two guys just makes it harder. I made a pretty good pitch and luckily we got the double play.”
Cahill had his career-long scoreless streak end at 23 innings, including 13 against the Rangers, when Josh Hamilton singled home a run in the sixth. Cahill improved his AL-leading day ERA to 1.33 in seven starts.
“He just continues to go out there and keeps doing everything right,” Wuertz said.
Lewis took a shutout into the sixth. Kevin Kouzmanoff opened the frame with a double, moved to third on Mark Ellis’ groundout and scored on Davis’ sacrifice fly.
“It seemed like they had runners in scoring position every inning,” Lewis said. “I threw too many pitches, allowed too many baserunners to go deep in the game.”
The Rangers scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth to take the early lead. Elvis Andrus was safe on a fielding error by Chad Pennington and scored on Hamilton’s sharp single.
Hamilton reached third on the play when Suzuki threw the ball into center field and scored on Nelson Cruz’s sacrifice fly.
Notes: Ellis doubled in the second inning, ending a streak of 15 games without an extra base. … A’s OF Matt Watson was sent to a local hospital for tests after complaining of pain in his side and back. … Molina played in the Bay Area for the first time since the Giants traded him on July 1. … A’s 1B Daric Barton left the game in the fifth inning with spasms in his left shoulder muscles. … Cahill and Lewis have matched up four times this year, with the A’s winning each time.
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