ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers scored three runs in the first inning and avoided a three-game series sweep with a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday afternoon.
Texas (30-17) snapped a five-game winning streak by Oakland (25-23) and avoided its first home sweep since 2010 behind a strong start from Ross Wolf and a bullpen that allowed one hit in the final 3 2/3 innings.
Wolf was called up from Triple-A Round Rock to make his first-career start after scheduled starter Nick Tepesch was scratched with a blister on his right middle finger. Having made 25 career appearances out of the bullpen in the major leagues previously, Wolf made the most of his opportunity by pitching five innings to earn his first-career win.
"It ranks up there from when my kids were born," Wolf said. "With what I've been through in the last year and a half, if you would have told me that I was going to start and contribute to this team I would have told you that you were a liar."
The 30-year-old said that through admitted frustration through the last two seasons, the Rangers clubhouse helped keep him calm going into the game.
"The guys make you feel welcome," Wolf said. "I felt relaxed and composed on the mound. It was the same game until after the last out."
Wolf pitched a perfect first three innings to begin the game before allowing the first Oakland run in the top of the fourth.
Coco Crisp opened the inning with a single and Yoenis Cespedes added a one-out double to left. Brandon Moss sent a long fly to the center-field warning track for a sacrifice fly that scored Crisp.
Wolf encountered difficulty again in the fifth.
A leadoff walk to Seth Smith was followed by a Derek Norris' double to right field, giving the A's two runners in scoring position. But Eric Sogard was robbed of a RBI single when Andrus made an over-the-shoulder catch in short left field for the first out.
"I didn't see it live as I was backing up home but I did see it on the replay board," Wolf said. "It was awesome. That is one of the best things he does is his defense. It was huge."
Another infield fly gave the Rangers the two out, and Wolf ended the threat by forcing a groundout.
Neal Cotts replaced Wolf on the mound in the sixth with two runners on and no outs. Cotts struck out the side, throwing nine out of his 12 pitches in the inning for strikes.
"I'm happy I could pick (Wolf) up," Cotts said. "With no outs and a guy on first and second I am just trying to get quick outs. I wanted to get out of it as cleanly as possible."
Rangers closer Joe Nathan replaced Robbie Ross in the ninth after Ross threw a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. Nathan sent the A's down in order on the way to picking up his 14th save of the season.
Texas jumped out of the gate in the bottom of the first with the three runs coming on two homers.
Elvis Andrus opened the inning with a single through the left side of the infield before David Murphy sent a 1-0 pitch into the right-field seats. Adrian Beltre sent the next pitch to center field for a one-out homer.
Jarrod Parker settled down for the Athletics after allowing the three runs. After the home run by Beltre, Parker retired 11 of the next 12 Texas batters.
"I think Parker pitched great after the first inning," Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "He really settled down nicely. It's good to see because in the past that maybe gets away from him a bit and we have to go to the bullpen early. But we didn't give him the support.
Oakland stranded four in scoring position through the fourth and six innings and left six runners on base overall in the loss.
"The most frustrating thing was that we didn't handle the situational at bats," Melvin said. "We could have scored up to two or three runs with a hit."
Parker finished with five strikeouts in seven innings. The right-hander allowed six hits and three earned runs.
NOTES: Scheduled Rangers starter Nick Tepesch was scratched from his start against the Athletics with a blister on his right middle finger. ... RHP Cory Burns was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock before the game. Burns had made three relief appearances for the Rangers. ... The Athletics and Rangers are both off on Thursday before traveling to face their next opponents. Oakland is scheduled to start Tommy Milone against Houston on Friday. Milone struck out six in 6 2/3 innings in his last start against the Astros on April 15. ... The Rangers begin a five-game, four-day road trip against Seattle and Arizona. Justin Grimm is scheduled to start for Texas on Friday. Grimm is 1-0 in two starts against the Mariners.