Athletics 3, Rangers 2

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.