Athletics 16, Rangers 4

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Rookie Travis Buck made the Oakland roster out of spring training in large part because of injuries to Mark Kotsay and Dan Johnson.

Johnson should be back in a couple weeks, but Buck’s latest performance could solidify his role with the Athletics for the rest of the season.

Buck hit his first career homer and drove in a career-high five runs to help the Athletics stretch their winning streak to four games with a 16-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Buck added a three-run double and Bobby Crosby doubled in two more during an eight-run second inning.

“Every time I’m in the lineup I expect things out of myself, and I feel the team does, too,” Buck said. “I feel like I belong here. It’s just a matter of going out and proving it. Of course a game like tonight helps.”

Buck made the team out of spring training in his third pro season by hitting .339 with nine RBIs. Buck climbed as high as Double-A Midland last year before a groin injury in mid-July ended his season.

“I’d like to say I’m surprised, but not really,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “He looked like a major leaguer from the first day of spring training. He gave us good at-bats.”

Oakland had scored 26 runs in its previous eight games before breaking out with a season-high total against Texas.

Shannon Stewart and Nick Swisher added back-to-back homers for Oakland in the ninth.

The bottom five hitters in the A’s starting lineup—Milton Bradley, Buck, Crosby, Jason Kendall and Mark Ellis—combined to go 10-for-16 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Oakland put up big offensive numbers despite the three and four hitters— Eric Chavez and Mike Piazza—going a combined 0-for-12.

“I’m happy to see guys getting it going,” Geren said. “It was a little bit warmer weather. The guys have been working hard all season.”

Oakland starter Joe Blanton (2-0) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

The Rangers lost for the fifth time in six games as Ron Washington managed his first regular-season game against his former team. Washington was an Oakland coach for 11 seasons before being hired to manage the Rangers last November.

“It wasn’t Ron Washington against the A’s,” Washington said. “You’re going to have nights like that. You take a shower and move on.”

The A’s scored four runs in the second, knocking out Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy (1-3). Oakland got a two-run double from Crosby, an RBI double by Ellis, and a run-scoring single from Stewart.

Oakland put up another run against reliever Bruce Chen in the second on Eric Chavez’s groundout, and Buck drove in three more with his bases-loaded double to make it 8-0.

McCarthy allowed six runs and four hits in one-plus inning, the shortest outing by a Rangers starter this season and the shortest in his 16 career starts. His ERA rose from 7.07 to 10.20.

“The ball was staying up,” McCarthy said. “It was bad mechanics. I lost focus. I’m concerned that my mechanicals flaws aren’t ruining an inning but ruining the game for us.”

Buck, 0-for-6 in his previous two games, added a two-run homer in the fourth off Chen that stretched Oakland’s lead to 10-0.

“I’ve always done well against the Rangers’ minor league system, and that made me more comfortable facing these guys,” Buck said.

Texas got to within 10-3 in the fifth on Kenny Lofton’s RBI single and Michael Young’s two-run double. But Ellis’ two-run double, Stewart’s three-run homer and Swisher’s solo shot in the six-run eighth extended the A’s lead to 16-3.

Notes

RF Brad Wilkerson, originally in Texas’ starting lineup, was scratched about an hour before the game. He missed his third straight game due to a sore left knee. … Four Dallas-area members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the group of black pilots who flew during World War II as the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Air Force, were honored in pre-game ceremonies. …Texas pitchers walked 12 after giving up 10 in their previous game Wednesday night at the Chicago White Sox. …Geren had an icebag on his left cheek during his post-game press conference after undergoing oral surgery on Thursday.

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