Athletics 1, Rangers 0

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two teams trending in opposite directions continued their bearing on Saturday when the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers, 1-0, at Rangers Ballpark.
The A's (87-61) won for the seventh time in eight games, while Texas (81-66) fell for the fifth consecutive game and eighth time in its last nine.
Oakland increased its lead to 5 1/2 games in the American League West over its division rival Texas by taking the first two games of a three-game series that concludes on Sunday.
The Rangers' offensive problems continued as the theme of a struggle that has seen Texas fall to 2-10 in September after completing August with a 20-7 record.
Texas left the tying run on base in the ninth inning of Friday's 9-8 loss, and failed to come up with the needed hit on Saturday. Texas left eight runners on base and was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The Athletics capitalized on the weakness of Rangers' starter Yu Darvish, allowing first inning runs.
Darvish entered the game having allowed 16 first-inning runs this season, his second-most being 10 in the third.
That trend continued on a walk to Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss' drive into the right-field corner for a double that scored Donaldson from first base.
Darvish would settle in, striking out 10 batters for his league-leading 12th double-digit strikeout effort.
The right-hander would strike out the side to end the first inning, and came close again in the seventh before a line drive to right ended the inning.
Darvish finished with seven innings pitched, one walk and an earned run.
The run proved to be enough for Darvish's counterpart, Bartolo Colon.
Colon pitched the Athletics through eight innings with little threat to his shutout bid.
The Rangers put runners on second and third with two out in the fourth, but Colon extinguished the chance with a strikeout of Mitch Moreland.
The A's right-hander then saw Alex Rios reach third base with two out in the sixth after a single, steal and an advance to third on a fly out. Colon got Adrian Beltre to fly out to end the inning.
Colon gave way to closer Grant Balfour in the ninth after allowing seven hits, scattered over his eight innings.
Balfour earned his 38th save of the season by working around a two-out walk. Balfour has been successful in six of his last seven save opportunities.
NOTES: The 12:06 p.m. CST start was the earliest first pitch in Rangers Ballpark history. The franchise record for earliest first pitch is 12:03 p.m. on April 18, 1992 at Arlington Stadium. ... Elvis Andrus became the first Ranger with 40 stolen bases in a season since 1995, when Otis Nixon stole 50. ... Josh Donaldson extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the sixth.

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