ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—No matter how bad Barry Zito’s line looked, the Oakland starter deserved this victory.
When Zito pitched against the same team last week, he got a loss after giving up just two runs in eight innings.
“Funny game,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “Barry goes out there last time against these guys and loses 2-1. This time, he gives us a bunch of runs and gets a win, so you figure it out.”
Zito (1-1) allowed six runs on 11 hits while throwing 107 pitches in five innings. Two of the runs were unearned, after his throwing error in Texas’ three-run second.
While Zito never trailed, he squandered a 6-0 lead and the Athletics led by only a run before Miller’s first homer made it 10-6 in the fourth.
“It seems like it should be reversed, a win last week and a loss tonight,” Zito said. “I just battled out there and luckily got through the fifth inning.
“We don’t look for 10-run games. But when you can line up big offensive games with the games that you scuffle, it’s nice.”
The A’s had 16 hits, seven of them for extra bases, in their first road game. Every starter had a hit, and five players had more than one.
Miller, the catcher hitting just .125 coming into the game, was 3-for-4 with a walk and a double. Eric Byrnes had three hits in his first start of the season and Jermaine Dye had a homer and an RBI double.
All of that offense still almost wasn’t enough for the A’s and Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young winner who is 12-1 in 19 career starts against Texas. The only loss was the 2-1 game last Wednesday.
But he escaped with his 55th win since the start of the 2001 season. The only pitcher in the majors with more in that stretch is teammate Mark Mulder with 56.
“Barry really showed me something,” Miller said. “He didn’t have great stuff, but battled his tail off.”
The Rangers, the top hitting team in the majors at .325, got within 10-9 with a three-run seventh. Brad Fullmer led off with his first homer, Eric Young walked and scored on passed ball against Miller and Michael Young had his second RBI single.
Texas had 16 hits off six Oakland pitchers. Arthur Rhodes pitched the ninth, getting his fourth save after giving up a leadoff double to Eric Young.
“We were just able to tough it out. It was a hard game to be a part of,” said Eric Chavez. “We have to put it behind us and try to play a real baseball game tomorrow.”
Oakland got off to a fast start against Mickey Callaway (0-1), who allowed 11 of the 13 batters he faced to reach base.
Six straight reached after a double play wiped out leadoff hitter Byrnes in a three-run first. Callaway walked four batters around Dye’s RBI double and a two-run single by Bobby Crosby, the new everyday shortstop who was hitting just .158.
A solo home run by Dye put Oakland up 6-0 and chased Callaway in the second. Bobby Kielty and Chavez had consecutive RBI singles before Dye’s third homer.
Ramon Nivar, Hank Blalock and Alfonso Soriano had RBI singles in the Texas second. After Marco Scutaro’s run-scoring double gave Oakland a 7-3 lead, the Rangers got three more in the bottom of the third.
“I’m real proud of the effort against Zito,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “We had some good at-bats and a chance to win that game,especially when you get Zito open like that.” ^Notes: Byrnes started for Mark Kotsay, who was home with his wife and baby daughter. … Oakland played the first of 10 straight road games. The A’s play 16 of 19 on the road. … The Rangers (4-4) missed a chance to go two games over .500 for the first time since starting 2-0 in 2000. … Callaway has lost eight straight decisions over 24 appearances (seven starts) since beating Texas while with Anaheim last April. … Fullmer, who signed with Texas in December,hit his first homer in 89 career at-bats at The Ballpark in Arlington.