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OAK@TEX: Milone strikes out four over seven innings

ARLINGTON -- Yu, meet the A's, and have yourself a day.

It proved to be a simple task for Yu Darvish, the Japanese-phenom-turned-Rangers starter who made quite the first impression against an A's lineup that managed just one run off the righty through 7 2/3 innings on Wednesday.

The result was a 4-1 Oakland loss, the club's second in as many days and the 13th of its past 15 games against Texas. The A's fell to 1-2 on their current seven-game road swing after fielding a starting nine that walked into its date with Darvish carrying a combined .094 average.

The 25-year-old Darvish came as advertised, allowing just four hits -- just one after the third inning -- while striking out seven and walking two en route to picking up his sixth win of the season, most among Major League rookies.

Josh Reddick went down swinging twice against Darvish, and when asked about his impressions of the hurler, he offered a half-smile and replied, "Well, I think my at-bats showed it."

"He definitely overmatched me," Reddick continued. "I wasn't on my game. He seemed to have live stuff, and it seemed to be moving a lot. He mixed it up pretty well."

Though Darvish is well known for his extensive repertoire, Reddick reflected on the one pitch that was most effective for Darvish.

"For me, it only took two pitches," Reddick said. "Fastball, cutter, and I guess curveball, too, but mostly fastballs. That fastball, I just wasn't catching up to it."

"I didn't think his stuff was super electric, but he located the ball really well and kept us off balance with that big curveball that he has, and then he pumps it up to 94 [mph]," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "I really feel like we could have hit him tonight, we just didn't take advantage of some pitches that were left over the plate."

Donaldson also went hitless against Darvish, and his defensive performance didn't exactly help the A's cause, either.

The third baseman believes he could have prevented two Rangers runs from scoring had he handled a ground ball off the bat of speedster Craig Gentry in the fourth differently. Manager Bob Melvin, visibly disappointed after his club's loss, didn't disagree.

Having already posted a pair of runs in the inning, courtesy of Adrian Beltre's two-run shot to right field -- his 20th against the A's since the start of the 2006 season, most by any player -- the Rangers kept things going with an infield single off the bat of Nelson Cruz.

Following Mike Napoli's strikeout for out No. 1, Milone issued his only free pass of the night to Yorvit Torrealba. That put runners at first and second for Brandon Snyder, who flied out to center field but not before a passed ball by catcher Anthony Recker allowed Cruz and Torrealba to advance. Along came Gentry, who sent a routine ground ball Donaldson's way, only for the infielder to stay back on it and hesitate on the throw.

"You got to get the ball and throw it across," Melvin said. "Whether or not he just didn't have his timing or whatever, it's a ground ball to third. You got to get the ball and get rid of it. You know the guy is one of the fastest players in the league."

Said Donaldson: "I thought he hit it a little firmer than he did, and with the grass here a little thicker, I got to know that coming in and get that ball. I've played with him in the Dominican, and I know he's fast. I came and got in on it a little, but obviously not enough, and I just couldn't get it out of my glove quick enough. I tried to make up for it with my arm, but he's really fast and beat it out. That's a play that's got to be made for Tommy. He pitched really well for us tonight."

Elvis Andrus' ensuing base hit extended Texas' lead to three, providing plenty of wiggle room for Darvish, who has not allowed more than three runs since his first start on April 9 against the Mariners, when he surrendered five in 5 2/3 innings.

Milone, meanwhile, was tagged with four runs on nine hits in seven innings, though he pitched much better than the numbers read, facing just one over the minimum if not counting the fourth.

"I thought he threw the ball extremely well," Melvin said. "Really, if the ball on the Gentry ground ball gets over to first base, it's a 2-1 game. I thought, considering it was his first time pitching here against that lineup, the whole bit, I don't know how he could have done that much better."

"I felt like I went out there and threw strikes, pounded the zone," Milone said. "They're just a good-hitting team that puts the ball in play, and when you do that, they make things happen. They got on base, and it led to the four runs in that inning.

"It's kind of hard, especially when you feel good and it's your 'A' game going. You get an inning like that, especially right in the middle there, but I think the important thing is to come back from that and keep the team in the game and hope we end up scoring runs. It didn't happen tonight, but that's the game plan as a pitcher."

Darvish, clearly, had his own working for him.

"Luckily, we had a big inning, because Yu was really on his game tonight," Beltre said. "[Milone] was keeping the ball down in the zone and throwing a good changeup down and away. He battled."

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