OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Nobody's playing great baseball in the wide-open AL West. The Oakland Athletics are back in first place for now - at only one game above .500.
Eric Patterson homered, Trevor Cahill won in his second start since getting called up from the minors and the A's beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 on Wednesday to reclaim the division's top spot and take the series.
``I think that's big in the clubhouse,' closer and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey said. ``Everyone knows we have a young team. To be able to go out there and win a series against division rivals, that's going hold strong for late in the season and give us that confidence that we need to continue.'
Ryan Sweeney and Kevin Kouzmanoff produced consecutive RBI groundouts in the first as the A's (15-14) staked Cahill to an early lead. Patterson connected for his second homer leading off the fifth against Colby Lewis (3-1).
Cahill (1-1), a 10-game winner last season as a rookie, allowed only two baserunners past first in five solid innings to earn the victory. He was brought up from Triple-A Sacramento last Friday to start at Toronto as the A's deal with an injury-depleted pitching staff.
The Rangers won the first four games of their road trip before dropping the last two, losing their first series in the last three.
``We can execute better,' manager Ron Washington said. ``We've got to make sure we continue to pound and get them in the right frame of mind. There are still some guys in that lineup trying to find themselves. We go according to the middle of our lineup. They go, we go.'
Daric Barton had an RBI single, doubled and scored a run for the A's. The Rangers had led the division for the first time all season the previous three days.
Cahill gave the A's a boost after their starters had gone 1-6 over the past eight games.
``The biggest thing was I made pitches when I had to,' Cahill said. ``I was throwing my sinker in to righties and getting groundballs to get some double plays. My sinker was a lot better today, and I was able to throw it well for strikes.'
Brad Ziegler pitched a perfect eighth and Bailey finished the 2-hour, 26-minute game with a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in as many chances. Bailey hasn't allowed a run in a career-best 20 2-3 innings dating to last Sept. 6 and has converted 26 straight saves overall.
Lewis was coming off consecutive 10-strikeout games but he labored through six innings and saw his pitch count go up in a hurry. He was done after 105 and couldn't beat his former team the way Rich Harden did Monday in the series opener.
``There were a lot of times I felt like I was forcing my pitches,' Lewis said. ``I got slider happy and didn't really mix my pitches well.'
Vladimir Guerrero had an RBI single in the sixth for the Rangers' lone run, which was unearned after Michael Young got aboard on Kouzmanoff's throwing error at third base to start the inning.
Washington offered to give Guerrero a day off after he had a grand slam and five RBIs in Tuesday's 7-6 loss.
``Before I could get it out he said no,' Washington said.
Since last May 31, the Rangers are 4-11 against the A's, who improved to 8-3 in day games.
NOTES: A's starter Justin Duchscherer received a cortisone injection in his sore left hip. He will try to throw early next week. ... Sweeney saw the end to a stretch of 37 straight home games reaching base. ... Oakland's Rajai Davis stole his 12th base in 13 attempts. ... Texas leadoff man Elvis Andrus was caught stealing for the fourth time. ... The A's recalled hard-throwing RHP Henry Rodriguez, who has been clocked at 100 mph, from Triple-A Sacramento to help the bullpen and optioned RHP Vin Mazzaro to Sacramento after his spot start Tuesday. ... The Rangers return home for a stretch of 14 in 17 games at Arlington. Bench coach Jackie Moore rejoined the team this series following the death of his daughter. ... Ziegler has purchased 200 tickets for military families to attend Saturday's game vs. Tampa Bay through his new foundation ``Pastime for Patriots,' helping the team salute Armed Forces Day.
The Associated Press News Service
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