OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Derek Norris figures the only difference between starting and coming off the bench is the need to bear down a little quicker when he’s asked to pinch-hit.
Norris delivered a pinch-hit homer and drove in five runs, Stephen Vogt went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and the Oakland Athletics roughed up Yu Darvish again in beating the Texas Rangers 10-6 Tuesday night.
”He has a knack,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said about Norris. ”He’s ready for the situation.”
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Norris, a career .500 hitter against the Rangers, is 4 for 11 with five RBIs as a pinch-hitter.
”I don’t know what that means,” he said. ”I mean, I like starting, too.”
Six of the catcher’s eight home runs this year have come with at least two runners on base.
”Five RBIs off the bench; that’s something special,” Norris said. ”Ultimately, the credit goes to the team for getting on base. I don’t get any more or less aggressive whether someone is on or no one is on. I just try to put the barrel of the bat on the ball.”
Tommy Milone (5-3) won his fifth consecutive decision, matching his career best, as the A’s won their third in four games.
Milone gave up three runs and five hits over 5 2-3 innings, improving to 5-0 in his last eight starts. He walked one and struck out three.
”Every game I just try to stay within myself and not do too much,” Milone said. ”I’m trying to get those guys out and so far it’s been working. When we’re scoring runs, pitchers in general just attack the zone and throw strikes.”
Darvish (7-3) dropped his eighth straight to the A’s, and the Rangers lost for the second time in six games.
”For some reason, they have really good numbers against me,” Darvish said through a translator. ”I just have to prepare myself for the next start.”
Darvish allowed seven runs – four earned – and eight hits over five-plus innings. He walked five and struck out eight, including Brandon Moss in the first for career strikeout No. 600.
”He was out there searching, which he always does,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”Usually he finds something, but tonight he just didn’t find it. He just couldn’t find anything to get them out with.”
Roughned Odor homered, tripled and drove in three runs for the Rangers.
Aaron Poreda, recalled from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day, took over for Darvish with two runners on in the sixth and got two outs before giving way to Shawn Tolleson, who gave up Norris’ home run.
Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first with his two-out RBI single.
The A’s scored twice in the second. Jed Lowrie, Vogt and Alberto Callaspo hit consecutive singles to open the inning. Lowrie scored on Callaspo’s hit, and Vogt came around to score on right fielder Alex Rios’ throwing error.
Vogt added RBI singles in the third and fifth. Coco Crisp hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and Norris hit a three-run shot, his fourth career pinch-hit homer, in the sixth.
”It seems like all the catchers are producing, even when they are all in the lineup,” Milone said. ”It’s a lot of fun right now.”
Odor hit a solo homer in the fifth and added a two-run triple in the seventh. Rios hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Daniel Robertson drove in a run in the seventh.
Norris added a two-run double in the eighth.
NOTES: Robbie Ross was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Poreda. … The Rangers signed veteran 1B Carlos Pena to a minor league deal. … Darvish owns a 7.59 ERA in four career starts at the Coliseum in Oakland. … RHP Nick Tepesch (2-2, 3.94 ERA) starts for the Rangers in Wednesday’s series finale. He’s won three straight over AL West opponents. RHP Sonny Gray (6-3, 2.93) goes for the A’s. He has lost his last two. … A’s LHP Drew Pomeranz was placed on the 15-day DL with a broken right hand. He was injured when he punched the back of a chair in frustration Monday night after losing to Texas in his shortest outing of the season. … A’s RHP Evan Scribner was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Oakland also obtained LHP Brad Mills for cash in a trade with Milwaukee.