Colby Lewis' first pitch was hit for a triple. After that little blip, the right-hander was quite stingy.
Lewis retired 17 in a row after Jemile Weeks' leadoff hit, including five consecutive strikeouts during one stretch, and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 7-1 on Saturday.
"Not giving them the momentum to start the game off ... it was big," said Lewis, who combined with four relievers on the five-hitter. "I don't know what the percentage is on that scoring but for me it was a big deal leaving a man on third base and keeping the score 0-0 for a while."
Pitching on five days' rest, Lewis (11-8) allowed one run and three hits over 6 1-3 innings while striking out eight. He did not walk a batter while beating his former team for the third time this season.
Ian Kinsler had two hits and three RBIs for Texas, which increased its AL West lead to three games over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Rangers scored all seven of their runs over the final four innings but manager Ron Washington said the tone of the game was set when Lewis pitched out of the jam in the first.
"That let us know right there he had his stuff," Washington said. "He did a great job out there. He and (Trevor) Cahill locked horns for five innings, and then in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth we put runs up."
Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus hit run-scoring doubles off Cahill as the Rangers (68-52) moved a season-best 16 games over .500 with their seventh consecutive victory over Oakland.
Weeks singled, doubled and tripled for the A's.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had his team take infield before the game but it didn't seem to help much. The A's committed four errors, had two wild pitches and lost for the seventh time in 11 games.
"It just seems to snowball," Melvin said of his team's defense. "At some point in time we'll get it right. We had four errors but we really played worse than that."
Oakland's four errors -- all coming in the infield -- led to only one unearned run but extended several innings. It's the fourth time this season the A's have had four or more errors in a game.
It also spoiled what was an otherwise solid outing by Cahill (9-11), who faced the minimum through five innings and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Yorvit Torrealba's one-out single gave the Rangers their second baserunner.
Torrealba, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, was thrown out trying to steal second but the Rangers still scored after two errors by Weeks on Endy Chavez's grounder to second kept the inning alive.
Kinsler followed with a run-scoring double down the left-field line.
"The key was Colby keeping us in the game and throwing the ball the way he did," Kinsler said. "He matched (Cahill) inning for inning and gave us a chance.
The Rangers made it 2-0 when Josh Hamilton singled leading off the seventh, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Napoli's double.
Andrus doubled in Chavez in the eighth and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Scott Sizemore. Michael Young added an RBI single to make it 5-1.
Cahill has lost six of his last seven decisions. The right-hander allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits.
"It just wasn't a good overall game," Cahill said. "It was frustrating that I started off so well and I wasn't able to finish. That's the toughest part. Colby has always thrown the ball well against me."
Lewis, who hadn't won since July 22, headed for the dugout after Josh Willingham doubled in the seventh. David DeJesus hit an RBI double off Darren Oliver, but Koji Uehara came in and struck out pinch-hitter Conor Jackson before Hamilton made a sliding catch at the warning track on Ryan Sweeney's fly ball to left to end the inning.
The A's couldn't get much else going and only made things worse with a steady stream of shaky plays in the field.
Kinsler, who was batting only .148 over his previous 15 games, had a two-run double in the ninth.