OAKLAND, Calif. — The Athletics found their winning formula again: Grab an early lead, the starters keep them in the game, and then allow the deep bullpen to handle the rest.
Stephen Piscotty homered and drove in three runs to back Chris Bassitt's winning season debut, and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 6-1 Monday night to end a three-game losing streak.
"Piscotty is absurd defensively some days and he's absurd offensively some days and it's like not so much if he's going to step up, it's going to be how," Bassitt said. "We have a team here, the starters just give this team a chance and we have really good odds to win."
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus left in the seventh inning as a precaution after being hit by a pitch in the first and bruising his right hand. X-rays were negative.
"Just a hand contusion that was swelling up late in the game," manager Chris Woodward said. "It was hard for him to hold the bat. It was going to be difficult to have an at-bat at that point."
Bassitt (1-0), called up from Triple-A Las Vegas last week and as healthy as he has been since before Tommy John surgery three years ago, struck out seven and walked four over five innings while regularly working out of trouble. He allowed two hits and has won his last three decisions dating to last season.
"To say that this is the best I've felt would be an understatement," he said.
Matt Chapman added a sacrifice fly in the third as the A's built on their lead after Piscotty's solo drive in the second. Pisctotty added a sacrifice fly and RBI single — and his 15-game hitting streak against the Rangers matches Geronimo Berroa in 1995-96 for the longest against Texas in A's history.
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 907th career appearance, moving him past Cy Young for 24th on baseball's career list.
"Fernando Rodney broke Cy Young's record, pretty cool stuff," manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland bounced back from a weekend sweep at home by the Blue Jays.
The Rangers couldn't capitalize on their chances for Mike Minor (2-2), who gave up four runs and four hits, struck out four and walked three in six innings.
Texas had won two in a row.
The Rangers stranded baserunners in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before pinch-hitter Patrick Wisdom's RBI double in the seventh.
Announced attendance was a dismal 8,073 — Oakland's lowest crowd of the year.
Former A's left-hander Barry Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, sang the national anthem acapella from a broadcast booth after asking everyone in the ballpark to join in on a night much of the power — mics, LED signage, speakers and video screen — was briefly turned off to bring awareness to saving energy.
Zito is now a musician living in Nashville with his wife and two sons. A native Californian, Zito has teamed with Energy Upgrade California to do his part to be environmentally conscious. He now has a land line at home and turns off his cellphone at night.
"You hear about energy conservation but when you look at the sheer numbers of what's going on and how many millions of people live in California, if we're just doing little things like changing a couple light bulbs to LEDs or changing the filters on your HVAC vents, which I'm just learning how to do now as a man of the house every couple months, it just cuts down," Zito said.
Rangers: The Rangers are getting closer to having a healthy infield. Both 2B Rougned Odor (sprained right knee) and 1B Ronald Guzman (strained right hamstring) were scheduled to take live batting practice Tuesday, then at least Odor is set to join Triple-A Iowa in time to play a rehab game Wednesday — then join the Rangers on Friday or Saturday in Seattle. Guzman will stay a little bit longer with Iowa and could be back with Texas as soon as Tuesday at home against the Pirates.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson could make his next start after spraining his left ankle Sunday. ... 1B Matt Olson (right hand surgery) did baseball activities on the field, including soft-toss swings and agility work. He will take batting practice in the coming days and could begin a rehab assignment next week. ... RHP Lou Trivino was playing catch Sunday when the glare from the outfield seats got in his way and a ball hit him in the right thumb. The thumb was bandaged Monday and he wasn't expected to pitch the series opener, listed as day to day. ... Oakland recalled RHP Ryan Dull from Las Vegas and optioned LHP Ryan Buchter to Triple-A.
Rangers: RHP Lance Lynn (2-1, 4.44 ERA) looks to win his third straight start, going on an extra day of rest.
Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (3-1, 2.70), who has given up just three hits in three of his four starts, doesn't have a decision in four previous appearances vs. Texas.
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