Kazmir ends 9-start winless streak as A’s beat Rangers 7-0
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scott Kazmir was pleased with his first win in nearly two months — and with fastball.
Taking a much more selective approach with his heater, Kazmir looked a lot like the pitcher who won his first two starts.
Kazmir allowed one hit in eight innings to end a nine-start winless streak and lead the Oakland Athletics over the Texas Rangers 7-0 Thursday.
“He didn’t get too amped up early in the game and try to force things,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He just kind of went with the flow, spotted his fastball early on, mixed in all his pitches and really kind of revved it up as he went along.”
Kazmir (3-4) 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.
“It felt like I was in control out there,” said Kazmir, who struck out six. “When I needed to hump up a little bit, I had it there and was able to hit my spot with it. That was the difference. Took a different approach, and it worked.”
Kazmir defeated Texas and Houston in his first two starts of the season but had been 0-4 in nine outings since beating the Astros on April 13, although he had a 3.78 ERA in that stretch.
Evan Scribner needed nine pitches in a perfect ninth that completed the one-hitter.
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.
“That was unbelievable,” Kazmir said. “That right there, that gets you going as a pitcher. When someone makes a play like that you just want to go out there and return the favor and get those guys back into the dugout.”
Chi Chi 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 more he does it, the more we’ll expect him to do it,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Any time a rookie comes to the bigs and does this type of stuff, you don’t expect three straight starts. We knew he was a good pitcher. and we love what he’s done.”
Ben Zobrist hit an RBI single in the first. 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.