Gaudin struggles against Rangers

Gaudin struggles against Rangers

OAKLAND -- Based on the numbers, Chad Gaudin would do better to avoid pitching against the Texas Rangers. He's lost more often to them than any other Major League team.

He gets to face them again when the A's travel to Arlington on Friday to open a series. Gaudin has never won in eight appearances there.

Gaudin didn't have much luck again on Saturday night, as the Rangers roughed him for five runs, three on one pitch, en route to a 6-3 victory over the A's.

"It was just a rough night," Gaudin said. "You're going to pitch well and you're not going to pitch well. This was one of those games."

He's made seven starts among his 16 career appearances against the Rangers, and he's 2-6 (0-4 in Texas) with a 6.31 ERA against them. No other team has beaten him more than twice.

"It was a pretty good outing expect for that one pitch," A's manager Bob Geren said. "He had the first inning, but he bounced back pretty good."

David Murphy's three-run homer brought in more runs than Gaudin had given up in his three previous starts combined.

Maybe it's just a matter of bad timing. After all, he has pitched well enough to beat the Rangers several times in the past.

"It was a fastball down the middle; I wanted it away," Gaudin said of the pitch to Murphy. "Milton [Bradley] gave me a tough at-bat right before that, and I wanted to make sure to come at Murphy. I made a bad pitch and he hit it."

Entering Saturday's game, Gaudin led the American League with an average run support of 8.40. He had won each of his last three starts, garnering 14 runs from his teammates in his most recent stint against the Angels. He wasn't so lucky against the Rangers.

Gaudin lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out three to fall to 3-2 on the season. His counterpart, Rangers starter A.J. Murray, made an impressive season debut just one day after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma. The left-hander went 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks.

"He was locating perfectly on the outside part of the plate," Geren said of Murray. "He wasn't overpowering as far as velocity, so it was his command, definitely."

The Rangers added two more runs in the fifth. German Duran led off with a single, moved to second on a balk and went to third on Ramon Vazquez's sacrifice. Michael Young doubled Vazquez home, and Josh Hamilton followed with an RBI single.

"After we got behind by so much, to come back within two was a positive," Geren said. "It gave us a chance, but their bullpen held the lead. It was a tough night swinging the bats."

The A's missed a great opportunity in the third, when Rajai Davis doubled and Kurt Suzuki drew a walk ahead of Mark Ellis, Mike Sweeney and Frank Thomas. Murray was up to the challenge and retired all three.

Sweeney, a career .350 hitter against the Rangers, delivered a two-run double in the fifth. Bobby Crosby drove in another run in the sixth.

Frank Francisco, Jamey Wright and Joaquin Benoit, who got his first save, combined for 3 2/3 hitless innings to give Murray his second career win, both of which have come in Oakland.

Rick Eymer is an associate reporter for Associate reporter Jane Lee contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.