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OAK@TEX: Willingham rips a two-run jack in the first

ARLINGTON -­- Perhaps no A's player is more qualified to sum up the fundamental difference between his team and the division-leading Rangers than starter Brandon McCarthy, who spent the past four seasons in the Texas organization.

"They're better than us," said McCarthy, who shouldered the loss in Friday's 13-4 drubbing despite a decent performance. "There's no sidestepping it. They hit really well, they get good at-bats, they pitch well, they do a lot of things well. What they're doing is what we need to aspire to get up to."

Oakland is 4-10 against Texas this year and has lost nine meetings in a row.

"It's not a fluke," McCarthy said. "They're just a really good team that seems to have good performances against us. We're looking up at them right now."

McCarthy feels that his outing "wasn't anything special," but better defense might have helped his cause. McCarthy himself wasn't immune to defensive troubles, making a first-inning error that led to one of the two unearned runs he allowed.

Oakland made three errors overall, leading to five unearned Texas runs.

"When you make as many errors as we do, you put yourself in a tough situation, especially against teams that can swing the bat," manager Bob Melvin said. "You give them extra outs, usually you get it handed to you. It's frustrating."

Fielding wasn't the only problem for Oakland. So were hitting and pitching. The A's collected only six hits and struck out 10 times, and relievers Michael Wuertz and Neil Wagner combined to allow nine runs, six of them earned.

McCarthy, 7-2 in 10 starts since the All-Star break, had been outstanding recently, striking out 26 in 24 2/3 innings with a 1.82 ERA over the past three starts. On Friday he struck out just five and walked one in six innings, and allowed five hits.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis fared better, improving to 12-10 on the season. Lewis pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs, all earned, while walking one and striking out seven. He is 5-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last six games against Oakland.

Oakland went ahead in the first on Josh Willingham's two-run homer, but Texas tied the score after Michael Young's grounder to McCarthy's right side slipped out of the pitcher's glove and put runners on first and third. Adrian Beltre and David Murphy each drove in a run after the error.

The Rangers added two runs in the fifth. Ian Kinsler singled on a ball that third baseman Scott Sizemore double clutched and held; Elvis Andrus doubled Kinsler home. Andrus scored on another Sizemore miscue, this time when the third baseman's throw to first hit the dirt. Andrus never stopped running and scored from second.

"We found a way [to score]," Young said. "Elvis' double was big. McCarthy was throwing the ball well, and we were able to string some at-bats together after that."

Oakland pulled within five runs on Hideki Matsui's two-run homer in the eighth, but in the bottom half of the inning, the Rangers tacked on five runs. Mike Napoli hit a 428-foot homer to opposite field that ended the scoring, then Neftali Feliz retired the side for Texas in the ninth.

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