Rangers snap losing streak, shut out A's

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Sammy Sosa told himself to be patient and wait for his pitch -- even if it wasn't a home-run pitch.

Oakland intentionally walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases and get to Sosa, and the slugger broke through against Lenny DiNardo.

Sosa lined a two-run single to left that got by a charging Shannon Stewart, breaking a scoreless tie in the sixth and helping the Texas Rangers end a season-worst six-game skid with a 4-0 victory over the Athletics on Tuesday night.

"This game is about adjustments," Sosa said. "He was pitching great until that inning. Once again I had an opportunity to drive in some runs and come through for my team. Hopefully we can get on a little roll."

Marlon Byrd singled in a run during that four-run sixth for one of his three hits and Mike Wood pitched five innings in an impressive spot start against his former club. Texas avoided its first seven-game losing streak since dropping eight in a row from Aug. 8-16, 2005.

Sosa -- booed each time he stepped into the batter's box -- went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and remained stuck at 598 home runs, but ended an 0-for-8 stretch with the single. He is looking to become the fifth player to hit 600 homers, and is second among active players behind San Francisco star Barry Bonds. Bonds has 746 and is nine from tying Hank Aaron's career record of 755.

Sosa struck out as a pinch hitter Monday night after manager Ron Washington gave him most of the day off to rest. On Tuesday, he struck out looking leading off the second, then grounded into a double play to end the fourth. He fouled out in the eighth.

"We haven't been able to catch many breaks," Washington said. "We caught a break tonight and took advantage of it. ... We finally put a solid game together. It is the first step. We've been in position to get that done for three, four or five ballgames now."

Wood (1-1), recalled by Texas from Triple-A Oklahoma to make his third 2007 start, remained unbeaten against the A's and won for the first time since May 8, 2006. He allowed five hits, struck out three and walked five -- and will be rewarded with a trip back to the minors.

While Washington wants his team to cut down on its walks, getting back on the winning side certainly meant a lot -- and Wash did it against the club for which he was a coach the previous 11 years.

C.J. Wilson, Joaquin Benoit and Eric Gagne completed the nine-hitter. Gagne entered with runners on first and second in the ninth and allowed a single to Travis Buck. He then got Nick Swisher to ground into a game-ending double play.

Washington was pleased with the pitching staff's performance, saying "we're not giving up on these guys."

And Wood isn't going to talk about being sent back to Triple-A until it actually happens -- though Washington said it was a definite.

Wood made some adjustments after the early innings and relied on his fastball.

After Stewart's leadoff single in the first, Buck grounded into a double play before Wood issued three straight walks to Swisher, Dan Johnson and Eric Chavez. But Bobby Crosby grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

Wood walked Swisher and Chavez in the fifth, but struck out Crosby to end that threat, too.

Stewart was charged with his third error of the season after Sosa's hit got past him, allowing another run to score.

"Any time you have a choice between a No. 3 hitter and No. 4 hitter, that's a difficult choice," A's manager Bob Geren said of walking Teixeira. "You don't often walk a guy to get to someone with 600 home runs. Lenny pitched Sosa tough all night. He got the strikeout and got him to hit into a double play already. That was Lenny's hitter. He just got the one ball up a little bit and Sosa got it over the shortstop's head."

The inconsistent and injury-plagued A's, shut out for the fourth time this year, might have found their fifth starter in DiNardo.

DiNardo (1-2) got through four innings on 55 pitches with only two hits. After Michael Young's single to start the fourth, Teixeira grounded into a fielder's choice and Sosa hit into the double play.

DiNardo allowed four runs -- one earned -- and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked two in his first start this season and 12th appearance overall. The 27-year-old left-hander became the eighth different starting pitcher used by the A's already this season.

"I pitched the same way all three times to Sosa," DiNardo said. "It was the right move to make to put Teixeira on and look for the double play ball. It was just a mistake pitch on my part and you can't do that to a hitter of his caliber."

Notes

Oakland hadn't been blanked since April 25 at Seattle. ... Wood is 3-0 in three starts and four career appearances against the A's, all at the Coliseum. ... A's C Jason Kendall got the night off and Adam Melhuse made a rare start. ... Oakland RHP Esteban Loaiza, who hasn't pitched this season because of a neck and knee injury, will undergo arthroscopic surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. ... The Rangers have scored 26 runs in their last seven games after scoring 28 -- 14 in each -- during their previous two contests.


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