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Sogard's solo homer puts the A's on the board

ARLINGTON -- Oakland manager Bob Melvin gave a few of his most experienced hitters Sunday off, and who could blame him? Facing Rangers ace C.J. Wilson looked like hard work.

In an 8-1 loss, the A's were consistently frustrated by the left-hander, who pushed his record to 16-6 -- a career high in wins -- and lowered his ERA to 3.01, pitching eight shutout innings and striking out 11. Wilson threw his first career shutout last week against Tampa Bay and followed it up with another gem.

Wilson became the first Rangers pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters six times in a season since Nolan Ryan in 1991.

With the loss, Oakland was officially eliminated from the playoffs, although that was a foregone conclusion for a team that is now 14 games under .500. Losing 11 of 16 to the American League West-leading Rangers didn't help.

"Right now, we're playing for pride and we're playing to spoil something, so going out and getting it handed to us like that was disappointing," said Oakland starter Josh Outman, who allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Melvin elected to rest some of his everyday players and start a lineup that included three rookies -- Michael Taylor, Jai Miller and Anthony Recker -- and second baseman Adam Rosales, who extended his hitless streak to 0-for-31.

Not surprisingly, given Wilson's relatively light-hitting competition and his recent dominance, the third-year starter was in command throughout his outing. He struck out the first two batters in a 1-2-3 first inning and struck out two batters each in the second, seventh and eighth innings. He allowed five hits and walked one.

"My mechanics are locked in a little bit," Wilson said. "It's just coming together. I feel like all the preparation and conditioning is paying off."

The A's countered Wilson with spot starter Outman, who worked his way out of trouble over four scoreless innings before the Rangers chased him in the fifth. Texas got four runs on five hits in the inning, starting with Craig Gentry's triple and ending with Adrian Beltre's two-run home run, his 300th career blast.

"It's just always tough to come and pitch here," Outman said. "It's a hitters' park, it's always a good-hitting lineup no matter what nine they throw out there. I battled through the first four [innings]. Then the fifth inning, I was just a little leg weary, and every mistake I made they capitalized on."

Beltre later hit homer No. 301, a solo shot to the hill in center field in the seventh inning, when the Rangers tacked on three more runs. Beltre also had a single and a double Sunday.

"He's just been on fire lately," Outman said.

Late-inning defensive replacement Eric Sogard homered in the ninth to put the A's on the board. Comments