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Rangers find stroke too late vs. A's

Rangers find stroke too late vs. A's

ARLINGTON -- There is something about Athletics pitcher Trevor Cahill that the Rangers can't seem to figure out.

Cahill silenced the Rangers with eight shutout innings, allowing only two harmless singles while striking out four as the Athletics evened the series with a 3-1 win at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"I'm trying to figure it out," manager Ron Washington said. "He looked like he threw more split fingers than anything. I guess that was his changeup. He had some good run on his fastball, but he's only at 90-91. But he certainly kept us off the fat part of the bat."

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With the win, Cahill improved to 5-1 against the Rangers in his career, registering a 1.83 ERA in seven starts. All five of the wins have come in the last two seasons, which is the most of any opposing pitcher the Rangers have faced in that span.

"He's 10-4 for a reason. He's an All-Star for a reason," Washington said. "At some point, the tide will change."

But Cahill's previous success against the Rangers wasn't an excuse for Michael Young, who went 0-4 with three strikeouts in the loss.

"I really don't think about what's happened in the past," Young said. "That's not the way I hit."

Cahill's performance continued a recent stretch for the club that has seen them score only 16 runs in six games on this homestand. That's good for an average of 2.6 runs per game.

"It's going to happen throughout the season," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "The guys that have been throwing against us, three of the four guys from the Angels and yesterday's and today's guys, they're good. They don't really miss a lot. We've been aggressive.

"There's nothing you can do. When you've got a guy on the mound throwing his best stuff and painting pitches ... you've just got to come tomorrow and try to do some things to score runs."

But Young doesn't think the opposition has much to do with the offense's recent struggles.

"We expect to score no matter who we're facing," Young said. "We've got a lot of respect for the pitchers we've faced, but nothing is more important than what we think about ourselves. We expect to score no matter who we're facing. It's our job to score no matter who we're facing. We want to come out tomorrow and make some adjustments."

The loss spoiled a strong start by Colby Lewis, who gave up one run on five hits while registering eight strikeouts in seven innings of work.

"He threw well. He was battling," Young said of Lewis. "It would have been nice to pick him up with some more runs. We'll see if we can get back to work on that."

In a scoreless game in the sixth, A's catcher Kurt Suzuki drilled a 2-2 slider in the left field bleachers to give the Athletics a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"It was just a little hanging slider, and Suzuki hit it. I bury it, and he's out," Lewis said. "It sucks and you just move forward. You continue to get quality starts. That's all you can do is try to keep your team in the game."

Added Suzuki: "It was a slider. It was up, and a lot of times I hit homers with two strikes because I'm not thinking, and I just go up there and react, choke up on the bat, react and see the ball longer. I just went up there with that two-strike approach, saw the ball and reacted."

The loss was just Lewis' second in his last 14 starts. However, it was still his fourth quality start in five July outings.

"Colby gave us a good start," Washington said. "He got the ball in on Suzuki. That was the only bad pitch he made all day. Trevor Cahill made none. We just couldn't square him up. He was good. Better than we were tonight."

But that was fine for Lewis, who still kept the Rangers in the game despite the outcome. Even in the ninth, the Rangers had a chance to win it. After cutting the deficit to two on a RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero, the Rangers brought the tying run to the plate twice before Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz struck out swinging to end the game.

"We've got to keep the game close," Lewis said. "We're always there. Just like tonight, we were there in the ninth inning. Any time you do that, it's a quality start."

Unfortunately for Lewis, Cahill's start just happened to be better.

"He's a pretty tough pitcher," Andrus said. "He's having a terrific year. He was pretty good out there and he beat us."

Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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