Doolittle: 'You have that mindset, you want the ball'
Dan Straily picked up his 2nd win of the season, shutting out the Rangers 1-0. (AP)
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rookie right-hander Dan Straily pitched seven scoreless innings and Yoenis Cespedes homered as the Oakland Athletics won their fifth straight game, 1-0 over the Texas Rangers and Yu Darvish on Tuesday night.
Straily (2-2) gave up only two singles while facing 22 batters, just one over the minimum for his seven innings. He struck out five.
Even with consecutive wins to start the three-game series, Oakland still trails the Rangers by 4 1/2 games in the AL West.
Darvish (7-2) had won all five of his previous starts this season when pitching after a Texas loss.
The Japanese right-hander struck out five, but walked three and hit a batter while giving up five hits in six innings. With the help of a couple of defensive plays, the only run he allowed came when Cespedes homered to straightaway center in the third.
Cespedes' ninth homer went just beyond the reach of Craig Gentry's outstretched glove. Darvish had turned and watched after the slugger took a big swing and connected.
Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in as many chances this season, and his 27th in a row since April 2012, to close out Oakland's third shutout of the season. Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless eighth for the A's.
Texas was held scoreless for the third time this season.
It was only the 13th 1-0 game ever at Rangers Ballpark, which opened in 1994.
A.J. Pierzynski, the Rangers catcher activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday, had a one-out single in the third. Jurickson Profar had a single in the sixth, but the rookie was caught stealing when he took off toward second base before Straily threw his pitch.
After winning his season debut April 5 with 11 strikeouts at Houston, Straily was optioned to Triple-A the next day when Bartolo Colon was reinstated from the suspended list. Straily returned in late April, and was 0-2 with an 8.84 ERA in four starts since until dominating the AL West-leading Rangers.
Darvish, who raised his majors-best strikeout total to 91 in 66 2-3 innings, came out after 101 pitches. He had averaged 121 pitches his last three starts, including a career-high 130 five nights earlier against Detroit in a 10-4 victory.
Elvis Andrus made a nifty play to end the fourth, when the shortstop was fully extended when he made a diving stab to catch the ball and then scrambled to his feet and threw out Chris Young at first. Darvish smiled and nodded at Andrus as they made their way to the dugout.
An inning later, after Darvish fielded a bunt by Adam Rosales, the pitcher turned and made a quick throw that went to the left-field side of second base. Andrus caught the ball while stepping on the base, then falling away from the base made a sidearm sling to get Rosales out at first - with a fully extended stretch by second baseman Profar covering the bag.
Notes: Rangers reliever Neal Cotts got three outs on six pitches in his first major league appearance since May 25, 2009. Texas purchased his contract from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Tuesday. The 33-year-old left-hander had ligament replacement surgery in 2009. ... Oakland DH Jed Lowrie left the game with a bruise after fouling a pitch off his right foot. ... 1B Daric Barton, designated for assignment Saturday when A's outfielder Chris Young came off the disabled list, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento. ... Right-hander Chris Resop also cleared waivers and was outrighted to Sacramento.