Gonzalez starting to show swagger

Gonzalez starting to show swagger

OAKLAND -- There was something different about Gio Gonzalez when he had it going in the Minor Leagues.

It wasn't as much the way he pitched as it was everything else. It was the way he walked, the way he carried himself, the way Gio was simply Gio.

There was a swagger about Gonzalez with Triple-A Sacramento. Now, for the first time, he has some swagger in the Majors.

"It's building. It really is," said Gonzalez, whose A's face the Rangers in the second game of a four-game set on Tuesday. "It's not to the point where it was in the Minors, but it's building.

"Everyone has their own swagger. I'm just learning, adjusting -- I'm trying to get a hang of everything."

Gonzalez has learned plenty about himself in his past three starts.

After surrendering a career-worst 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Twins on July 20, Gonzalez hit the road for two less-than-forgiving destinations: Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

Gonzalez didn't let that faze him.

The 23-year-old turned in the best start of his young career on July 25, holding the Yankees to one run in 6 2/3 innings to earn the win. He then allowed three runs in 5 1/3 against Boston on Thursday, with two of the runs coming in the sixth.

"After that game against Minnesota, knowing you're going against the Yankees and Boston -- you have to adjust quick," Gonzalez said. "You have to bounce back. ... It's not easy to pitch against those teams. You have to be careful and you can't make any mistakes."

The key, Gonzalez said, was keeping his mind loose and focusing on things he could control. He's taking his ball and trying to execute his pitch.

"You don't want to worry about the names of hitters," Gonzalez said. "That's not to disrespect any hitter, but I just want to throw to the hitter, not the name of the hitter. That's what I've been doing."

And that's what he plans to keep doing.

"You make minor adjustments here and there," he said, "but for the most part, I'm extremely confident, extremely happy with what I have now."

Pitching matchup
OAK: LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 7.38 ERA)
Gonzalez matched a career high by striking out eight Red Sox on Thursday. The 23-year-old earned the praise of manager Bob Geren for executing a simplified game plan centered around pounding the strike zone. He has not allowed a run in three career innings against the Rangers, all of which came last season.

TEX: LHP Derek Holland (4-6, 5.56 ERA)
Holland allowed one earned run over 8 2/3 innings pitched against the Mariners on Thursday. He was perfect through 4 2/3 and retired 26 of 29 batters faced. He struck out a career-high 10, the highest by a Rangers rookie left-hander. Holland's 118 pitches were a career high and the first time he's broken 100 in his career. Against the Mariners in his career, he has a 4.50 ERA over four innings pitched in two games. On the road this season, Holland is 1-2 with a 4.25 ERA over 36 innings.

Jason Giambi (strained right quad) worked out with the team on the field prior to Monday's game. He's eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. ... Geren said there was no news on Justin Duchscherer, who missed his rehab start with Sacramento on Friday for non-baseball related reasons. ... Nomar Garciaparra has a .391 career average (100-for-256) against Texas, the second-best mark against the club. ... Brett Wallace hit a ninth-inning, go-ahead home run for Sacramento in a 2-1 win at Portland on Sunday. ... Adrian Cardenas leads the Texas League with a .326 batting average.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Athletics (Dallas Braden, 8-9, 3.89) vs. Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 8-5, 4.66), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Athletics (Trevor Cahill, 6-10, 5.01) vs. Rangers (Tommy Hunter, 3-2, 2.63), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Friday: Athletics (Vin Mazzaro, 2-8, 5.73) at Royals (Brian Bannister, 7-7, 3.59), 5:10 p.m. PT

Adam Loberstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.