Series: Game 3 of 3

Oakland won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, April 5
Game 2: Tuesday, April 6
Game 3: Wednesday, April 7

Rangers 2

(1-2, 1-2 away)

Athletics 1

(2-1, 2-1 home)

    3:35 PM ET, April 7, 2004 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

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    TEX 010100000 2 7 0
    OAK 000001000 1 6 0

    W: C. Lewis (1-0)

    L: B. Zito (0-1)

    S: F. Cordero (1)

    Lewis, Rangers thwart Zito, A's

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The ball rocketed off Billy McMillon's bat, and almost everybody at the Coliseum jumped to the same conclusion: The Texas Rangers had blown another game in Oakland, another chance to beat Barry Zito for the first time.

    Instead, a stiff wind kept McMillon's ninth-inning fly in the ballpark, and the Rangers hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Athletics on Wednesday, snapping a nine-game losing streak against their AL West rival.

    Opening-week victories usually don't mean much, but this one was important for several reasons. The Rangers got 5 1-3 strong innings from Colby Lewis and a flawless performance from their maligned bullpen, which held Oakland without a hit in the final 3 2-3 innings of Texas' first win over the A's since last June 25.

    "You couldn't draw it up much better," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "A lot of good things happened for a lot of people who have worked hard to make them happen."

    While Lewis and three relievers confounded the A's, Zito took his first loss to Texas in 18 career starts, allowing seven hits and four walks over eight innings. The 2002 AL Cy Young winner had been 11-0 with a 2.40 ERA against the Rangers, who couldn't sign Zito after drafting him in the third round in 1998.

    "Yeah, I guess I'll start a new (streak). What can you do?" Zito said. "Chalk it up to an outstanding pitching performance on the other side. ... A lot of guys thought that Billy Mac got the home run, but it didn't go."

    The first two games of the season-opening series were typical for this rivalry. The A's rallied in the eighth inning for a victory on opening day, and Mark Mulder shut down the Rangers in a 3-1 win Tuesday night.

    But Eric Young had an RBI single and Kevin Mench hit a sacrifice fly in the early innings against Zito, and that was enough for Lewis and his relievers. They held Oakland to five hits -- none after the sixth inning despite a long history of blowing games against the A's, including Monday's season opener.

    Jay Powell pitched out of a jam in the sixth, and Erasmo Ramirez and Francisco Cordero followed with hitless performances. Cordero got the final five outs for his first save.

    Rookie Bobby Crosby reached second base with one out in the ninth when Alfonso Soriano dropped his popup for an error, but Cordero retired pinch-hitters McMillon and Eric Karros on fly balls to left.

    "This is my first year with the full job (as closer), and I was excited to get in there," Cordero said. "I'm more excited now that I've got the first one out of the way. I'm not going to give up because we made an error. I'm going to go back up there and throw the ball."

    Jermaine Dye hit his second homer in two days for the A's, but his sixth-inning shot was their only extra-base hit.

    Lewis worked quickly and confidently, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out five in his fifth straight victory dating back to last season. In contrast to the Rangers' struggles against Oakland, Lewis has won two of his three career starts at the Coliseum.

    "He threw his off-speed pitches for strikes and kept us off-balance," said Dye, who went 4-for-11 in the series. "We couldn't get anything going. The Rangers didn't hit Zito hard, either. It was a tough day for hitters."

    Zito was one of just three active pitchers who were unbeaten against one team with a minimum of 10 wins. Pedro Martinez is 12-0 against Seattle, and Randy Johnson is 11-0 against the Cubs.

    Game notes

    Oakland's Mark Kotsay robbed Soriano of an extra-base hit in the third with a sprinting, sprawling catch on the warning track. ... The A's had a six-game home winning streak dating back to last season. ... Texas has lost 24 of its last 29 against Oakland overall. ... C Damian Miller went 0-for-9 in the series.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press