Gonzalez solid, Rangers struggle against A's Kazmir
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Chi Chi Gonzalez's string of scoreless innings to begin his major league career ended in the first inning of the Texas pitcher's latest start.
It didn't take long for the Rangers' rookie to start another one.
Gonzalez bounced back nicely from his opening stumble but Texas couldn't get anything going offensively against Scott Kazmir and lost 7-0 to Oakland on Thursday afternoon.
''He gave up that run, settled in and threw the ball very well,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ''You can't take anything away from him. He was in control out there.''
Gonzalez (2-1) gave up one run, eight hits and three walks in seven innings. He had entered with 14 2-3 scoreless innings in the major leagues and was trying to become the first Texas pitcher to win his first three big league starts.
The Texas right-hander allowed Ben Zobrist's RBI single in the first but shut the A's down from there despite pitching with runners on base in all but two of the innings he worked.
''It's been a great ride throwing up zeros,'' Gonzalez said. ''The first inning I was only working one side of the plate but when I got back to using both sides, it worked out.''
Gonzalez definitely made an impression on A's manager Bob Melvin, who spent part of his postgame press conference praising the Rangers' young pitcher.
''Every time we got some traffic out there, he seemed to get better,'' Melvin said. ''I know they like him a lot.''
Kazmir (3-4) allowed one hit in eight innings to end a nine-start winless streak. He retired 13 of his first 14 batters around a second-inning walk by Adam Rosales and didn't allow a hit until Elvis Andrus' one-out single to center in the fifth.
Texas' only other runner was Prince Fielder, who walked leading off the seventh.
The Rangers have been shut out three times this season - all in Oakland and twice in games started by Kazmir.
''For some reason Kazmir always seems to pitch well against us,'' Banister said. ''He was able to use his cutter, and his secondary pitches were giving us fits.''
Oakland shortstop Marcus Semien, who leads the majors with 20 errors, snared a liner up the middle from Leonys Martin to end the second. Center fielder Billy Burns made a diving catch to rob Delino DeShields of a potential extra-base hit in the sixth.
Burns also made a leaping one-handed grab before crashing into the fence in center on Carlos Corporan's deep fly to end the eighth.
The A's broke open the game in a six-run eighth that included a pair of two-run homers, by Mark Canha off Jon Edwards and Josh Reddick against Ross Detwiler.
Rangers: Kyle Blanks (cyst) was activated from the disabled list before the game and batted cleanup for Texas. Blanks went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. ... RHP Spencer Patton was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Blanks. ... LHP Mike Kickham was released by Round Rock. ... Reliever Martin Perez pitched 2 2/3 innings in his first rehab assignment since elbow surgery. The left-hander allowed one run and five hits with four strikeouts.
Athletics: 1B Ike Davis (strained left quadriceps) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville on Friday. ... 2B Eric Sogard (left wrist) was kept out of the starting lineup. ... RHP Edward Mujica (broken thumb) threw a bullpen session without setbacks and could begin a rehab assignment next week.
Rangers: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (3-2) faces Minnesota in Texas on Friday looking for his first win in four home starts.
Athletics: RHP Jesse Chavez (2-6) starts Friday in Anaheim against the Angels, a team he's beaten just once in four career starts.