AL West-leading Rangers edge Oakland A's

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AL West-leading Rangers edge Oakland A’s
Oakland’s starter Trevor Cahill has quickly cemented his place in the team's rotation. After sporting a 10-13 record with a 4.63 ERA last season, the right-hander has seen his numbers drop in all the proper categories.
He's 9-6 with a 3.15 ERA in 2010, and although July has not gone quite as well as he would like, the 22-year-old still has a 3.74 ERA in five outings this month.
Most rookies and second year players hit a rough patch at some point in their early careers, but Cahill has been able to stay afloat and avoid any negative spiral. He's completed at least six innings in his past seven starts, while walking just 13 batters during that stretch.
With the combination of Cahill's pitching and some timely hitting, the A's were 8-2 in their past 10 games before losing to the Rangers on Tuesday night, 3-1, in 10 innings.
Such was Oakland's recent success that Rangers manager Ron Washington was certainly taking notice on Tuesday.
"[I'm] not surprised," he said of the A's hot play of late. "They've certainly changed their game plan. They're not sitting back waiting for three-run homers anymore. They've got speed at the top of their lineup. They've got a lot more contact hitters in that lineup. The young starting pitching is starting to come into its own, and they've always had a good bullpen. They play a different game now. They're not going any place.
"It should be another intense series. I like playing those kinds of games every day. It's a reason to bring the best out of you."
The Rangers have certainly brought their best in 2010 and currently sit atop with the largest divisional lead in the Majors.
A big part of the Rangers' success can be attributed to Colby Lewis, who will get the start on Wednesday in the second meeting of their three-game set.
Despite the fact that Lewis has only tossed one scoreless outing this season, the righty’s pitching has been solid and his numbers prove that. In his past eight starts, Lewis has completed 53 total innings with a 3.40 ERA. During that stretch he's walked just 12 batters while striking out 51.
The rookie, Neftali Feliz has also contributed as a closer. Feliz already has 28 saves on the year -- most in the American League -- and 16 more than the previous Rangers rookie record.
"I'm just trying to do my job," Feliz said. "It's something that they've told me, but I just thank God for the ability to stay healthy and do my job."
Texas lost four straight games going into the second half of the season, but tweaked a few things and have come out of the All-Star break with a vengeance. The Rangers are 9-3 after the intermission and admitted that their series against the A’s serves as a bit of extra motivation.
The feeling is mutual for Oakland as the Athletics’ manager Bob Geren said “It’s just another series, but at this stage, every series is a big series. We’ll see them again at home soon, so those are six big game right there.”
Geren was referring to the two teams that will meet once again in August for another three-game series.
Injury update:
Oakland’s ace, Brett Anderson is expected to return after a successful rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday. Geren was happy with Anderson’s outing on Sunday and said that the left-hander looked great and on the mound.

Anderson hasn't made a start for the A's since June 3 due to elbow tendinitis, but he did toss a 5 1/3 innings shutout for the River Cats, giving up four hits while striking out nine on his road to recovery.



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