Athletics 9, Rangers 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ The Oakland Athletics made it easy for Doug Johns. And Johns made it tough for the Texas Rangers.
Johns, staked to an early seven-run lead, had a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just one run in eight innings as the Athletics won 9-1 Sunday over the Rangers.
Johns (6-10) notched only his second win since May 25, the other coming in an 18-2 rout of California.
``Certain times we score a lot of runs when I pitch,″ he said. ``It definitely allows you to not be as careful and not worry about one run here or there.″
Scott Brosius and Matt Stairs hit solo homers and Jason Giambi had three RBI for the A’s, who batted around twice in the first three innings.
Jose Herrera and Rafael Bournigal had three hits apiece for Oakland, which has homered in a season-high 10 straight games. The only starter in the A’s lineup without a hit was Mark McGwire.
Johns allowed 10 hits, but was helped by three double plays. Oakland turned four overall, giving the A’s an AL-high 117 this season.
``Doug has shown he’s capable of holding a big lead,″ Oakland manager Art Howe said. ``I thought he was a little more aggressive today in the way he pitched.″
Oakland scored four in the first on an RBI single by Giambi, a two-run double by Geronimo Berroa and a sacrifice fly by George Williams. The A’s loaded the bases in the second, but Rusty Greer made a leaping catch at the left-field fence to rob Brosius of an extra-base hit with two outs.
``I don’t think too many left fielders other than him can make that play,″ said Brosius, who alternates between third base and left field for the A’s. ``It was fun to watch ... well, it was not really fun to watch.″
The Athletics got three more runs in the third on Stairs’ leadoff homer, his fourth of the season, an RBI single by Bournigal and a run-scoring groundout by Giambi.
Bournigal tripled and scored on Giambi’s groundout in the fifth, and Brosius hit his 12th homer leading off the Oakland sixth.
Mark McLemore homered in the fifth for Texas, his fourth of the season. Juan Gonzalez went 3-for-4 for the Rangers to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games. During that span, Gonzalez is hitting .417.
Kevin Gross (9-7), who was bothered by a sore back, was knocked out in the third for the Rangers. He allowed six runs on six hits and four walks in two-plus innings.
Gross said it feels similar to the lower back injury that sent him to the disabled list in late May and early June.
``It’s hurting bad. I can hardly sit down,″ he said while standing in front of his locker. ``When you can’t finish throwing, you’re not going to have much velocity.″
Gross has given up 19 runs on 22 hits in 11 2-3 innings in his last three starts to raise his ERA from 4.97 to 6.02.
``He said he was fine, but he was never able to get loose or throw the breaking ball,″ said Texas manager Johnny Oates, who visited the mound in the second inning. ``Looking at the results, I don’t think he was fine.″
Notes: After the game, the Athletics purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Dave Telgheder from Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League and optioned right-handed reliever Jay Witasick to Huntsville of the Southern League. Telgheder is scheduled to start Monday night’s home game against Seattle. ... Gross has four starts this season in which he has lasted less than four innings. ... The A’s have 143 homers this season. ... Gross has an 0-4 career record against Oakland. ... Berroa has nine RBI against Texas this season. ... Gonzalez has an extra-base hit in seven straight games. ... Mickey Tettleton struck out three times for Texas, and has whiffed 90 times this season.