Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Kazmir fired eight brilliant innings to halt a lengthy winless drought and lead the Oakland Athletics to a 7-0 decision over the Texas Rangers.
Kazmir (3-4) earned his first victory since April 13 with a superb performance in which he yielded only one hit -- an Elvis Andrus single in the fifth inning -- and a pair of walks while logging six strikeouts. The veteran lefty had gone 0-4 with five no-decisions over a nine-start stretch after winning his first two outings of the season.
"It felt like I was in control out there," Kazmir said. "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."
Ben Zobrist provided Kazmir just enough offense with an RBI single off Chi Chi Gonzalez in the first inning, and Oakland broke the game open by erupting for six runs against the Rangers' bullpen in the eighth.
Josh Reddick capped the outburst with a three-run homer and Mark Canha had a two-run shot earlier in the frame. Both finished 2-for-4, while Sam Fuld collected three hits to help the A's hand Texas its first series loss since dropping two of three against Cleveland from May 15-17.
Gonzalez (2-1) kept Texas in the game despite being dealt a first defeat in his third major league start. The impressive rookie was reached for eight hits and walked three, but held Oakland to one run over seven innings.
After putting up three unanswered runs over the final two innings to rally for a 5-4 triumph in Wednesday's matchup between the teams, the A's went wire-to- wire in the finale due to Kazmir's dominance and some early struggles from Gonzalez.
After walking Billy Burns on four pitches to begin the bottom of the first, Gonzalez surrendered consecutive one-out singles to Reddick and Zobrist that staked Oakland to a quick 1-0 edge. The 23-year-old then walked Stephen Vogt to load the bases, but averted further damage by inducing a double-play grounder off the bat of Brett Lawrie.
Gonzalez continued that trend throughout the remainder of his stint, stranding a pair of runners in the third, sixth and seventh innings and getting some aid from the Texas defense in the fifth.
Following singles by Fuld and Burns that placed runners at the corners with one out, Reddick lofted a fly ball down the left-field line that Delino DeShields snared in foul territory, then cut down Fuld attempting to tag with a perfect throw to the plate.
"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 said.
The Texas offense, on the other hand, could never get untracked. Kazmir set down 13 of the first 14 hitters before Andrus singled to center with one out in the fifth. The Rangers had just one more baserunner the rest of the way, when Prince Fielder drew a walk to lead off the seventh and was erased on a double play.
Kazmir didn't do it alone, though. Burns came up with a pair of spectacular catches in center field, including a leaping grab at the wall to rob Carlos Corporan of extra bases with the game still 1-0 in the top of the eighth.
Gonzalez, who has allowed just one run in 21 2/3 innings to begin his big league career, was pulled after 105 pitches through seven. The A's then teed off on relievers Jon Edwards and Ross Detwiler to turn the game into a rout.
Canha homered with Vogt aboard to extend the margin to 3-0, and a walk and a Fuld double set up Burns' sac fly that plated another run. Edwards issued another free pass prior to giving way to Detwiler, who was greeted by Reddick's blast into the seats in right center that increased the lead to 7-0.
The Rangers had won each of their previous six series ... Oakland registered back-to-back home wins for only the second time this season, also doing so against the Yankees from May 28-29 ... Kazmir also limited the Rangers to one hit at the o.Co Coliseum on April 8, a game in which he struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings. He now owns a 1.27 ERA in six home starts this season ... Texas was shut out for the first time since that aforementioned April 8 meeting with Kazmir ... Burns ended 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.