ARLINGTON, Texas — Joe Blanton sees a trend in his recent outings, and it's left the right-hander a bit steamed at himself.

Blanton met with manager Bob Geren and pitching coach Curt Young behind closed doors before Sunday's 13-8 win over the Texas Rangers to discuss the issue.

His frustration stems from not being able to hold down the opposition — particularly in the mid- to later innings — after he's handed runs by his offense.

In Saturday's 8-4 loss to Texas, Blanton took the mound after the A's tied the game 3-3 and promptly gave three runs right back, taking the loss and seeing his record fall to 3-7. He was so ticked he didn't even meet with reporters after the game.

"Basically stuff gets frustrating time after time," Blanton said Sunday. "It's just that I think I let the team down. We battled back and tied the game. To go right back and give them three runs is really kind of frustrating."

In his previous start, when he got the victory against Boston, Blanton had a 4-1 lead and gave up two runs in the fifth inning to make it close before the A's won 6-3. Against Tampa Bay on May 19, he was handed a 3-0 lead and allowed two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings before leaving. The A's went on to lose 7-6 in 13 innings.

"When the top of the lineup comes up, I give up a hit, and I try to get back in a groove, and one mistake kills me," he said. "(Saturday) night I left a ball over the plate (that Josh Hamilton hit for a two-run homer)."


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Blanton has encountered his most trouble this season as he gets deeper into a game. In innings 1-4, he has allowed 15 earned runs in 52 innings. From the fifth inning on, he's given up 26 earned runs in 341/3 innings.

Blanton has lasted as long as seven innings just once in his past five starts. He has 4.27 ERA in 13 outings overall.

Geren said he and Young went over Saturday's game in detail with Blanton during the meeting.

"He's got a real positive frame of mind going forward," Geren said.

Smith's day

A's rookie left-hander Greg Smith typically is an honest critic of himself. After reviewing his five-plus innings Sunday against Texas, Smith said he didn't feel like he pitched very badly despite allowing a career-high seven earned runs.

He was pulled after allowing the first five Texas batters to reach base in the sixth — four via base hit, one on a walk. Smith correctly noted that some of the balls weren't hit particularly hard and found holes.

"I could have made some better pitches, but they hit them where (the defense) wasn't," he said.

He did put the A's in a 2-0 hole by allowing a two-run homer to Milton Bradley in the first.

Short hops

Huston Street handled the ninth inning in a non-save situation and allowed a 431-foot solo homer to Hamilton, who had two RBI. Hamilton leads the major leagues with 63 RBI in 57 games. "... Chad Gaudin picked up the win in relief, though he allowed a run to score on a wild pitch after relieving Smith in the sixth.

— Joe Stiglich