ARLINGTON -- Five of the seven Texas Rangers players selected to the All-Star Game were in the lineup Sunday night as they tied to pull off one of the more difficult tasks in baseball: a four-game sweep.
A potential eighth All-Star was on the mound, and he had the look of a pitcher who belonged in Kansas City next weekend. He also had yet to lose in his career at Rangers Ballpark.
But a pitcher who was out of the major leagues for the past four seasons trumped them all.
Left-hander Travis Blackley allowed one run over seven innings, and Oakland scored three times against Yu Darvish in a 3-1 victory that allowed them to salvage one game against the American League West leaders.
"I was just talking about how tough it is to play the same team and win four games," manager Ron Washington said. "But we had some opportunities. You've got to give Blackley credit."
The Rangers won their seventh straight series and have won 16 of their past 20 games. But they saw their five-game winning streak snapped, and their West lead over Anaheim slipped to 5 1/2 games.
The Rangers had beaten Blackley on June 5. But on Sunday he outpitched Darvish, who pitched as well in the early innings as he has all season before surrendering three runs over his final three innings.
Darvish (10-5) had faced the minimum through three and had allowed only one hit through four. He was pitching with a 1-0 lead when Oakland opened the fifth with a double by Seth Smith and an RBI single by Derek Norris.
Oakland delivered a run in each of the next two innings to go up 3-1. Their run in the sixth came on a wild pitch with two outs that allowed Jemile Weeks to race home, and Brandon Moss opened the seventh with a 406-foot shot into the home run porch in right field.
The Moss homer on the first pitch of the inning left Darvish in a huff.
"We weren't able to play our game, but giving up that run didn't allow the momentum to come to my side," said Darvish, who threw 105 pitches in seven innings. "That was an unnecessary run I gave up."
Darvish, who said last week that he doesn't believe he is an All-Star, can make the team as the 34th player if he beats out four others in the Final Vote.
Fans determine the spot, and he is expected to win with support from his native Japan. But he isn't campaigning for it.
"That's something I'm aware of, that the fans get to vote for that spot," he said. "I'll just stay quiet and see what happens."
Blackley, an Australian who pitched in Korea last year, scattered seven hits in seven innings and improved to 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four starts. He benefited early from pickoffs of Elvis Andrus in the first inning and Yorvit Torrealba in the third.
The Torrealba out after a leadoff single cost the Rangers a run as Ian Kinsler doubled with two outs and Andrus singled him home to break a scoreless tie.The Rangers had only two hits over the next four innings. One was a ground-rule double by Craig Gentry that bounced off Yoenis Cespedes' foot and went over the center-field wall.
The next three hitters, the first three in the lineup and three players who were selected Sunday to the All-Star team, popped out to strand Gentry at second.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760