OAKLAND -- Rangers manager Ron Washington wanted to celebrate his 59th birthday with a victory on Friday. Instead he had to watch Athletics pitcher Trevor Cahill reassert his dominance over the Rangers.Only Washington, after the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Athletics at the Coliseum, wasn't completely convinced that Cahill was that dominating against his struggling offense. "We had baserunners out there. We just needed a base hit at the right time," Washington said. "That would have been the difference, but we just couldn't get the hit that would have made a difference at the right time." Instead the Rangers went down to their fourth loss in five games while Cahill, with seven scoreless innings, extended his career record to 7-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 10 starts against them. He beat Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, who allowed three runs in seven innings. Only one of the runs was earned as the Rangers made three errors on defense. Wilson is now 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts. "I thought he did a great job, we just couldn't support him," Washington said. The Rangers had 15 baserunners with 11 hits and four walks. But they did not have an extra-base hit, they were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and they left 12 runners on base. They had the leadoff hitter on base in the fifth through eighth innings and could not get a run out of it. The Rangers have scored just 17 runs in their last five games. "If you look at Cahill's history against us, it's good," outfielder David Murphy said. "He throws the ball well against us, and in our division we're going to face him five or six times. He also caught us at a good time. We're not swinging the bats well top to bottom. At this point there is no reason to dissect it or over-analyze it. We just need to hit better ... the bottom line is we need to hit better." Cahill's 2.27 ERA against the Rangers is now seventh-lowest by an opponent with a minimum of 10 starts against them. This was the fifth time in 10 starts he did not allow an earned run against the Rangers and the third time he did not allow any runs at all. He has given up 16 earned runs in 63 1/3 innings, and 12 of those came in the two losses. "They're one of the best offenses in baseball, so when people come up and say you've had a lot of success against them, you don't really think of that," Cahill said. "They have a lot of guys that can hurt you. I think a lot of it is you face them so many times, so you start to learn their strengths and their weaknesses. So far, I've stuck to my strengths." Cahill survived a rough first inning as he walked Elvis Andrus with one out and Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz with two outs. That brought up Murphy, who was 7-for-23 with a home run against Cahill coming into the game. This time Murphy, on a 1-1 pitch, grounded hard to second baseman Mark Ellis to end the inning. "If I could have waited a tick longer, I could have driven it up the middle," Murphy said. Cahill ended up throwing 26 pitches in the first inning and only 11 were strikes. He quickly turned that around. Over the next six innings, he threw 74 pitches and 51 were for strikes. "He threw well and made good adjustments after the first inning," designated hitter Michael Young said. "But I've said this before, our job is to find a way to score runs no matter who is pitching, what ballpark we're playing in or what time of year it is. We didn't do that." Wilson has been tough on the Athletics. He has a 2.29 ERA in three career starts against them. But the Athletics were able to get a couple of big hits and some big breaks in bleeding three runs out of Wilson over seven innings. The Athletics took the lead in the third. Daric Barton hit a drive to straightaway deep center and Julio Borbon, after twisting and turning, got to the ball but couldn't hold it as he reached and jumped to make the catch. It was ruled an error and Barton ended up scoring on a two-out single by Kurt Suzuki. "It was a tough error, but this is the big leagues," Washington said. "It was early in the game and I didn't have a good feel for the way the ball was carrying," Borbon said. "I knew it was driven. I took the opposite turn, got turned around and kept going ... by the time I got there I knew I had to jump. It wasn't that easy of a play." The Athletics made it 2-0 in the fifth on a pair of doubles by Barton and Conor Jackson. Ian Kinsler's throwing error on an ill-advised double play relay attempt in the seventh brought home another run.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.