OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland A's hope Chris Bassitt can figure into their future plans. First, he needs to pitch, even if his first-inning woes continue.

Bassitt, in his first start in nearly a month because of a strained shoulder, lasted three innings in Oakland's 8-1 loss to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Thursday.

The A's have lost five straight and dropped 25 games under .500 for the first time since 1997.

Bassitt (1-7) was on a pitch count and was lifted after allowing three runs on six hits with 73 pitches. He walked one and struck out three.

"It was important for him psychologically and physically to be back out there and perform," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They made him work and made him throw a lot of pitches."

Bassitt gave up two runs in the first, an inning that has plagued him all year. His ERA in the frame is a gaudy 7.36 and opponents hit .367 against him. Overall, Bassitt has an ERA of 3.07.

"I felt good, maybe a little rusty, and I got the ball up a little bit," Bassitt said. "I got a lot of weak fly balls that turned into hits. That happens."

Bassitt has one more start this season and hopes to carry that into the offseason, when his main focus will be getting completely healthy for spring training.

"I have no plans for the offseason other than worrying about next year and being ready for good things," he said.

The A's were outscored 26-10 as the Rangers completed the three-game sweep. The A's have dropped four straight to Texas and five of six.

Josh Reddick scored Oakland's only run on a fielding error in the second. He beat out an infield single and stole second and third before scoring when Delino DeShields dropped a fly ball.

Cole Hamels (5-1) pitched six innings to earn his fifth consecutive win, Prince Fielder hit his 22nd homer and the Rangers moved a season-high 14 games over .500 and extended their lead to 3 1/2 games over the idle Astros in the AL West. Texas heads to Houston to begin a three-game series on Friday.

Texas turned four double plays in the first five innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: RHP Edward Mujica (right hamstring strain) threw off a mound on Wednesday, and manager Bob Melvin said it's possible that the veteran reliever could pitch again this season.

UP NEXT

Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (12-11) pitches the series opener in Houston trying to avoid matching his career high for losses. Gallardo, who has dropped his previous two starts, lost 12 games in 2009.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (13-7) will start against San Francisco on Friday. Gray beat the Giants in his only other career start against them on July 8, 2014.