Athletics 7, Rangers 2

Coco Crisp returned to the Athletics’ lineup after missing three

games and doubled on the second pitch he saw.

The next time up he singled in a run – yet all anyone wanted to

talk about was Crisp’s hair.

Oakland’s speedy leadoff hitter shunned the normal thick braids

and instead sported a thick, bushy Afro that reminded many of

former Yankees slugger Oscar Gamble. Even teammate Hideki Matsui

was captivated by Crisp’s crop.

”I think it’s awesome,” a grinning Matsui said through a

translator after Oakland’s 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers on

Sunday. ”(But) I don’t know if I want to have Afro hair.”

It works just fine for Crisp, who broke out the hairdo earlier

for one game this season. Now, he’s tempted to keep it a little

longer this time around.

”As long as you’re getting on base you can go out there with a

half-bald head or long hair or whatever,” Crisp said after pacing

an A’s offense that had struggled to score while he was sidelined

with a sore left quadriceps. ”(Manager Bob Geren) was pushing me

toward the ponytail but the guys were like, ‘Man, you spend all

that time taking your braids out you might as well let it flow. I

did, and it worked out.”

Conor Jackson added two hits and two RBIs, Kurt Suzuki drove in

two runs and Gio Gonzalez pitched into the seventh inning to snap a

three-start skid for Oakland, which had 11 hits against four Texas

pitchers.

It was the fourth time this season the A’s scored more than six

runs.

”It was great to see the offense up and down the line get some

big hits,” Geren said. ”Having (Crisp) back in there was huge.

You could see a big difference in the lineup.”

Michael Young and Ian Kinsler drove in runs for Texas, which

committed three errors and lost for the fifth time in seven

games.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison (3-3) failed to make it out of the

second inning, the second straight outing in which the lefty has

been roughed up early.

”He just didn’t have it again today,” said manager Ron

Washington, who pulled Harrison with two outs in the second and the

bases loaded. ”Once again it was his command. Giving up base hits,

I have no problem with that. He just didn’t have his command. He

certainly has got to do better and he knows that.”

Gonzalez (3-2) scattered five hits with seven strikeouts over 6

2-3 innings to win for the first time since April 9. The

left-hander didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning and

allowed only three runners past second base.

Despite falling awkwardly on the mound after Elvis Andrus hit a

sharp grounder up the middle in the fourth, Gonzalez never ran into

serious trouble and stayed unbeaten over his last four starts

against Texas.

It was Oakland’s offense – and Texas’ shoddy defense – that made

the biggest difference.

Crisp provided a spark and Jackson extended his recent tear.

Jackson is hitting .360 with four extra-base hits and seven RBIs

over his last seven games.

The Rangers didn’t help themselves defensively, either. The

three errors led to two unearned runs.

Crisp doubled on Harrison’s second pitch and scored on Jackson’s

two-run double down the right-field line. Suzuki singled through a

drawn-in infield to give the A’s a 3-0 lead.

Crisp made it 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second.

”Obviously, that’s what you want to do as a leadoff hitter is

get on base,” Crisp said. ”It definitely felt good after a few

days off to come back and right off the bat get something going. We

were able to pull out the win, not necessarily because of the ‘fro

but because Gio pitched a great game and our hitters hit

today.”

Harrison, who lasted just three innings in his previous start

against Toronto, was gone two batters later after Daric Barton

doubled and Jackson walked to load the bases.

Dave Bush struck out Josh Willingham to end the threat but the

Rangers never recovered.

Harrison’s quick exit marked the third straight game in which

he’s struggled after opening the season with consecutive wins over

the Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees. Harrison’s ERA has spiked from

1.23 to 4.59 since then, and his loss to the A’s was his first in

four career starts against Oakland.

The A’s added two runs off Bush in the third after Suzuki

reached on a throwing error by Andrus at shortstop to open the

inning. Matsui followed with a run-scoring double and scored on

Cliff Pennington’s two-out single.

NOTES: The run scored by Matsui in the third was the 1,500th of

his career combined between Japan and the United States. … The

Rangers are 1-2 on a seven-game, two-city road trip. … Barton

played in his 387th game at first base for the A’s, tying Bruce

Bochte for fourth-most in franchise history. … RHP Ryan Tucker

threw a scoreless inning for Texas after making his Rangers debut

on Friday.