ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Oakland Athletics starter Jesse Chavez has already been a hard-luck loser a couple of times this season.
Manager Bob Melvin and the right-hander’s teammates feel it was only appropriate for Chavez to get a victory on a night not pitching his best.
Chavez allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings, but exited with the lead that four relievers combined to hold in an 8-6 victory over the Texas Rangers in a series opener Tuesday night.
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”Yeah, absolutely, really nice for him,” said catcher Josh Phegley, who homered and had a two-run double.
Phegley’s double chased rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-2) and tied the game at 5 in the sixth. Phegley scored on Marcus Semien’s RBI single to put the A’s ahead to stay after Chavez (4-6) had already thrown his last pitch.
”Not only did we get him off the hook, we got him something he deserved,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”There were so many times that he was a guy left out there with no support with a team that can score some runs.”
Chavez has been the loser in two games when Oakland was held scoreless, games in which he allowed one earned run over 14 innings. He struck out three and walked two against the Rangers.
Ben Zobrist also homered for Oakland, which is 18-11 since being 16 games under .500 on May 22.
There was a moment of silence before the game for MLB Network analyst and former player Darryl Hamilton, who was killed Sunday. Hamilton played 13 major league seasons, and his only one in Texas was in 1996 when the Rangers won the AL West and went to the playoffs for the first time.
Rougned Odor had a two-run homer among his three hits for the Rangers, who have their first three-game losing streak since May 14-16. Elvis Andrus drove in two runs and scored early on a passed ball against Phegley.
Drew Pomeranz, the fifth Oakland pitcher, got the final five outs for his first career save.
Gonzalez had allowed only three runs in his first four major league starts, but gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings against Oakland. The 23-year-old right-hander’s ERA more than doubled, from 0.90 to 2.27.
”I just have to stay confident. It was a grind. I struggled. But the team played well and gave me run support,” Gonzalez said. ”I just have to look at my success and not reflect on the negative. Take out the positives.”
BACK IN TOWN
Former Rangers manager Ron Washington was at his first game in Texas since his surprise resignation last September for personal reasons. Now an infield instructor for the A’s, Washington was on the field for pregame work and threw batting practice. But he can’t be in the dugout for games.
TRADING 4 SPOTS
After Phegley’s fourth homer of the season in the fifth made it a 2-1 lead, the Rangers scored four times in the bottom of the inning. But the A’s immediately responded with four in the sixth, including Ike Davis’ RBI double before Phegley’s tying double.
Oakland rookie CF Billy Burns has a 13-game hitting streak, with hits in 25 of his last 26 games … Zobrist’s fifth homer of the season was a two-run shot in the seventh. He has hit .419 (13 for 31) with 15 runs, three homers and 10 RBIs over his last nine games.
Athletics: C Stephen Vogt was out of the lineup after getting a cortisone shot in his left elbow following Sunday’s game. He is expected to play Wednesday. … Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (strained right shoulder) could be cleared to play catch by the end of the week.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre, who had missed 19 games with a sprained left thumb, was activated before the game even though it still hurts to swing the bat. He had a sac fly and a single. … OF Josh Hamilton (strained left hamstring) is set to start a rehab assignment Wednesday as the DH for Double-A Frisco. He then will go to Triple-A Round Rock and could rejoin the Rangers by Monday.
Athletics: Oakland goes for its eighth win in 10 games. Right-hander Kendall Graveman is only the second A’s pitcher since at least 1914 to throw at least seven innings and allow two runs or less in three consecutive games without a win in such a span.
Rangers: Texas has lost four games in a row only once this season (April 27-May 1). The Rangers have won the last six starts by lefty Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.20 ERA).