ARLINGTON – Justin Grimm became the first starter to win a game this month, David Murphy and Leonys Martin sparked a struggling offense from the bottom of the order and the Texas Rangers rolled to a 9-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
The Rangers have won two of the first three of a four-game series against the A’s, and will look to win the series Thursday afternoon. They pulled within two games of the A’s in the American League West standings.
Grimm started strong with four scoreless innings, and was pitching with the lead after a two-run homer by Lance Berkman in the second inning.
But Grimm ran into trouble in the fifth and it appeared the dubious 17-game June drought of a starter not winning a game would extend on. Grimm gave up three runs that inning, all scoring on a two-out three-run homer by Chris Young, who entered the game with a .186 average.
The Rangers answered in the home half of the fifth, though, with Murphy and Martin leading off with singles. Ian Kinsler drove in Murphy on a sacrifice fly and Martin had a nice slide into home plate to score on a grounder by Nelson Cruz.
The Rangers then broke it open with four runs in the sixth. Robinson Chirinos, Murphy and Martin all had one-out singles, and Kinsler, Cruz and Adrian Beltre came through with RBI hits.
Texas cushioned its lead to 9-3 in the seventh when A.J. Pierzynski scored on a wild pitch.
Murphy had a season-high three hits, and Cruz also had three hits in his first start in the three-hole this season. The nine runs were the most the Rangers scored since another nine-run game on May 30, and their 14 hits were the most they’ve had this month.
-- Drew Davison