Colby Lewis finished his first inning already down 2-0 after giving up another home run. The Texas Rangers quickly got even, and the right-hander felt like he was starting over when he got back on the mound.
Lewis took full advantage, pitching into the eighth inning and getting plenty of help from the Texas bats.
Oakland didn't score again until after Lewis had thrown his last pitch and the AL West-leading Rangers went on to a 13-4 victory Friday night, their ninth straight win over the division rival.
"Maybe I should give up a home run more often in the first inning. Slap me across the face or something to get me going," Lewis said. "I felt better as the game went on, that's for sure. It took a lot of pressure off. It's a 0-0 ballgame. It's like the first inning all over again."
The Athletics led only four batters into the game after Josh Willingham's two-run homer, his 24th and the AL-high 33rd allowed by Lewis (12-10).
Adrian Beltre had an RBI double and Elvis Andrus had two run-scoring hits, including a tiebreaking RBI double in the fifth off Brandon McCarthy (8-8) that made it 3-2 and put Texas ahead to stay.
Lewis won for the first time in nearly a month, his only victory in his last eight starters coming Aug. 13 at Oakland. This time against the A's, Lewis had seven strikeouts with one walk while allowing three runs and five hits over 7 1-3 innings.
"After that first inning, he settled down and started hitting his spot," manager Ron Washington said. "Even in that first inning, he kept the ball down. Give Willingham credit. ... That didn't faze Colby, he kept pounding the strike zone, kept getting outs. It was nice to see."
Lewis will get seven days of rest before pitching again Sept. 17 at Seattle.
Washington said before Friday night's game that C.J. Wilson would pitch the opener next weekend at Seattle to remain on schedule of pitching every fifth day, giving Lewis an extended break since the Rangers also have a day off before then. The manager said that plan isn't changing.
The only batter McCarthy (8-8) walked was Texas leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler in the first. Then McCarthy had a fielding error on Michael Young's comebacker before Beltre's milestone hit and David Murphy's sacrifice fly that tied the game at 2.
"He threw the ball well, well enough to keep us in the game," manager Bob Melvin said. "We take a lead, they come back to tie it, go ahead, and we don't answer back."
Kinsler had three hits and scored four times, giving him 15 runs his last eight games and 105 for the season. Young drove in four runs, including a three-run double in the eighth before Mike Napoli's 25th homer, a two-run shot that landed an estimated 428 feet over the Rangers bullpen in right-center.
After Kinsler reached on an infield single in the fifth, Andrus hit a liner directly over the head of center fielder Coco Crisp as he sprinted toward the wall. Andrus scored from second when Beltre reached on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Scott Sizemore.
"We fed off Colby," Young said. "He kept getting us back in dugout and giving us a chance to have some good at-bats."
Lewis left with one on and an 8-2 lead before Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer, his 12th, off Mike Adams.
Oakland had three errors, giving it an AL-high 115, already the most by the A's since having 125 in 2001. Five of the 13 Texas runs were unearned.
"It's frustrating," Melvin said. "You can't give teams like that extra outs and we've been giving extra outs all year."
Crisp did have a spectacular inning-ending catch in the sixth, when he held on while stumbling on the warning track after running a long way to grab the flyball by Endy Chavez.
Michael Wuertz didn't retire any of the five batters he faced after taking over for McCarthy to start the seventh. The reliever was gone after five consecutive singles that led to four more runs for the Rangers, including RBIs by Andrus, Young and Beltre. Mitch Moreland drove in a run with another single later in the inning.
NOTES: McCarthy's error was the 19th by an Oakland pitcher, and his AL-high fifth at the position. ... Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton missed the game to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth daughter, who was born about 30 minutes before the game started. ... After a long streak of 100-degree days during July and August, the game time temperature was 88 degrees, the lowest since 84 on May 25. ... On Saturday, All-Star RHP Alexi Ogando (12-7) makes his first for the Rangers since Aug. 31, after they skipped his last start to give an extended rest. RHP Trevor Cahill (10-13), who is 2-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, starts for the A's.