OAKLAND, Calif. — Scott Feldman‘s cell phone was furiously beeping in the locker behind him. The congratulatory messages were rolling in after a winning performance close to home, with lots of family members and friends in attendance.
“Sure it’s nice to win with them in the stands,” said Feldman, who went to high school in nearby Burlingame. “Any time you can pitch well it’s only going to help things.”
“It does mean something,” Rangers’ manager Ron Washington said. “It means we’re playing good baseball right now. We’re no longer the hunters. For at least one day, we’re the hunted.”
Feldman (2-0) allowed two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out three in his third start since replacing Kris Benson in the starting rotation.
“I love starting,” Feldman said. “It’s been a lot of fun the last three games. I don’t want to take anything for granted though. When they tell me to pitch I want to do well. It’s nice to get the opportunity to be a regular starter.”
Dan Giese (0-3) went 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three in his first start of the season after taking over for Dana Eveland, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. The A’s have not had a starter go more than six innings in any of their last 13 games.
“I got into some jams but having Suzuki back there saved us some runs,” Giese said. “I felt I did a decent job, but you still hate to lose.”
The rookie Andrus hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the first inning, for his first RBI in 16 games.
“We made it a point in spring training to focus on the little things,” said Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an eighth-inning single. “We know offensively we can score runs in bunches. It means something to be in first place but it feels better just to be playing good, fundamental baseball.”
Derek Holland pitched two scoreless innings and Frank Francisco recorded the final three outs, including strikeouts of Giambi and Holliday, for his ninth save. He extended his scoreless streak to 14 2/3 innings.
“They made Frankie work and he earned it,” Washington said. “To do what he did to Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday, that’s something. He turned it up.”
Benson was activated from the DL and placed in the bullpen. RHP Luis Mendoza was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room. … A’s RHP Sean Gallagher will start Saturday, replacing LHP Brett Anderson, who developed a blister. … A’s RHP Santiago Casilla (sprained right knee) threw on flat ground Tuesday and is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday. … Rangers OF Josh Hamilton (strained intercoastal muscle) may play in a minor league game on Monday. “If he’s ready to go I’d like him to get his at bats with us,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. … Suzuki has 13 RBIs in his last 13 games. David Murphy and Chris Davis each drove in a run for the Rangers, who have won six of their last seven road games and moved into first place for the first time in three years.