OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Beyond getting away from the distractions that come with playing at home, Nick Martinez is at a loss to explain why the Texas Rangers are the best road team in baseball.
He’s not spending much time trying to figure it out, either.
Mitch Moreland hit a long home run and Martinez outpitched Sonny Gray as Texas beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Tuesday night for its major league-best 20th road win.
“We’re not playing different,” said Martinez, who won for the first time since May 23. “We’re coming to the ballpark going through our same routine as we go in at home. I think it’s just worked out that way.”
Texas has won three of four on its current trip to pull within two games of AL West-leading Houston.
Manager Jeff Banister credited his players’ attitude for the team’s success on the road.
“Really it’s just a testament to who they are and what they do every night,” Banister said. “They feel that way coming into the clubhouse no matter where they’re at.”
Prince Fielder drove in a run and Shin-Soo Choo added two hits to help lead the Rangers to their 10th win in the last 12 games away from home.
Moreland had gone hitless in 10 previous at-bats against Gray (7-3) before connecting for his seventh homer of the season in the sixth inning. The ball easily cleared the wall in center field and bounced off the facade underneath a row of luxury seats.
Martinez (5-2) allowed one hit over six shutout innings. He struck out three and walked three.
“I’m back to the type of pitcher I am, just attacking hitters to both sides of the plate and working off that,” Martinez said. “In my last outing I had trouble finding it. It was a great way to bounce back.”
Four relievers completed the five-hitter. Shawn Tolleson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Martinez, who beat the A’s on April 9, didn’t allow a hit until Josh Reddick’s leadoff double in the fourth. He pitched with runners on base in every inning.
Delino DeShields tripled off Gray and scored on Fielder’s two-out single in the third. Moreland’s leadoff shot in the sixth made it 2-0.
Gray allowed eight hits and both Texas runs in six innings after giving up only two runs over his previous 21 innings. He struck out six and walked one while losing for the first time since May 19.
Oakland scored on Stephen Vogt’s RBI single off Ross Detwiler in the eighth.
“There’s a lot of frustration and a lot of things that are going on with us,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “In close games like that, we can’t get a big hit.”
Rangers: Adrian Beltre’s sore left thumb is still bothering the third baseman and there’s no timetable yet for his return. Beltre has not played since May 31. “There’s still some healing going on, on the inside,” Banister said. “This is a man who has played through a lot during his career. He wants to be on the field.” ... LHP Martin Perez (elbow surgery) will pitch three innings for Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. ... 1B Kyle Blanks (cyst) hit before the game and could play in this series, Banister said.
Athletics: RHP A.J. Griffin (elbow surgery) will make his third rehab start Friday and pitch five innings for Triple-A Nashville. Griffin’s two previous starts this year came with Class A Stockton. ... 1B Ike Davis (strained left quadriceps) is expected to run the bases Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. ... Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte worked a scoreless ninth in his third appearance in the majors.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-6) tries to win three consecutive starts for the first time since 2013.
Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn (3-5) takes the mound in the middle game of the series hoping for some help from Oakland’s defense. The A’s have committed 10 errors leading to eight unearned runs with Hahn pitching.