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ARLINGTON (AP) – Josh Lindblom pitched out of trouble several times early in his debut as a major league starter. The Texas right-hander couldn’t do it in the fifth inning.
Seth Smith homered and scored three times, Bartolo Colon pitched seven strong innings for his first win in a month and the Oakland A’s beat the Rangers 9-2 on Monday night.
Coco Crisp got three hits, and had the first of three straight Oakland doubles in a four-run fifth inning that broke a 1-1 tie. He scored when Yoenis Cespedes hit a line drive just over Adrian Beltre’s head with the third baseman playing in, and Cespedes came home on Brandon Moss’ line drive to the wall in right.
Lindblom (0-1), who came to Texas as a reliever in an offseason trade, was replaced by left-hander Joseph Ortiz after striking out Josh Donaldson in the fourth. Smith hit an RBI single and went to second when left fielder David Murphy dropped the ball trying to make a throw home. The error allowed Smith to score on a single by Chris Young for a 5-1 Oakland lead.
“Fastball command was a little off today,” Lindblom said. “I wasn’t able to command my heater in and out, which has kind of been my staple all year.”
Colon celebrated his 40th birthday a few days early with something he’s enjoyed quite a few times over the years: a win over the Rangers.
Colon, who turns 40 on Friday, gave up two runs on six hits and struck out three. It was the first win for Colon (4-2) since April 23 at Boston, and he joined Bert Blyleven, Dennis Leonard and Jack Morris as the pitchers with the most wins over the Rangers at 19.
“I like to pitch here,” Colon, who has 175 wins in 16 seasons, said through a translator. “I don’t know why.”
Smith’s opposite-field homer to left for a 1-0 lead in the second was the 13th straight solo homer for the A’s, tying a franchise record set in 2007. Smith had one of the run-scoring hits in the fifth, and Jed Lowrie had three hits, including one of five doubles for Oakland.
The two outs Smith made were with the bases loaded as the A’s stranded a season-high 15. Texas pitchers walked a season-high eight, although two were intentional.
Even Colon had problems with walks — by his standards. He matched his season total by walking Geovany Soto twice.
“Those don’t happen too often,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Top Texas prospect Jurickson Profar made his first appearance in the majors this year at second base and was immediately put to the test by Crisp, who had infield hits his first two times up despite Profar’s best efforts. The 20-year-old went far to his left to grab the first one and fielded the next almost behind the bag at second, but Crisp beat the throw both times.
Profar drove in both Texas runs without a hit, scoring Soto with a grounder in the third and Mitch Moreland with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
“The first one, we needed a groundball, he got the groundball,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He handled his at-bats well tonight. We scored two runs, he got both of them.”
With Ian Kinsler on the disabled list because of bruised ribs, Profar is back with the Rangers after homering in his first big league at-bat as a 19-year-old last year.
“I’m feeling more comfortable in the box and on the field,” said Profar, who hit .424 during an eight-game hitting streak that included the first multihomer game of his career before getting called up from Triple-A Round Rock. “It starts from there.”
Colon was helped by three double plays in the first four innings, including a pair started by Moss at first base when he snagged hard grounders from Lance Berkman and Moreland, stepped on the bag and got the runners trying to go to second. He came out after throwing 95 pitches.
“I mean, he’s 40 and we’d like to try to get him through a season,” Melvin said. “So anything over 100 for me is starting to get a little uncomfortable for me. To give us seven, just short of 100, is terrific.”
Lindblom, who was in the deal that sent franchise hits leader Michael Young to Philadelphia, gave up seven hits and four runs in 4 2-3 innings filling in for Alexi Ogando, who’s on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis.
The 25-year-old had 101 relief appearances over two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Phillies but struggled in the Texas bullpen during spring training. The Rangers decided to try him as a starter at Round Rock, where he was 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
Lindblom was sent back to Round Rock after the game but could return and make another start in a doubleheader against Arizona next Monday.
“He’s just got to get the ball down,” Washington said. “He showed a good changeup tonight. Showed some life on his fastball. Just in that fifth inning, I don’t know if he was a little tired but he just started elevating the ball.”
NOTES: Rangers C A.J. Pierzynski (strained oblique) was the designated hitter in the final game of a two-game rehabilitation stint at Double-A Frisco on Monday. He went 1 for 3 with a single and is expected back in the Texas lineup Tuesday, when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. … Athletics RHP Chris Resop cleared waivers and was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Oakland designated him for assignment Friday.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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