ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics jumped on Texas Rangers right-hander Josh Lindblom for four runs in the fifth inning and the A's went on to win 9-2 in the opening game of a three-game series Monday night.
The A's cut the Rangers' lead in the American League West to 5½ games, still the largest division lead in baseball.
Lindblom hit hard: Making his major league debut, Lindblom got hit hard. He allowed seven hits and four runs in 4⅔ innings. Lindblom worked around a single and a walk in the first inning, but allowed a home run to Seth Smith to start the second inning. Lindblom allowed three doubles between four batters in the fifth inning. Coco Crisp had his third hit of the game against Lindblom, a double to left field. And Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss followed with RBI doubles for a 3-1 lead.
Profar produces: Jurickson Profar, playing in his first game of the season, drove in the Rangers only two runs, and he did it with productive outs. He had a ground out to second base with a runner at third and one out in the third inning to tie the game 1-1. He had a sacrifice fly with runners at first and third and one out in the fifth inning to cut Oakland's lead to 5-2. Profar also showed off his range at second and made a nice play on a backhand stop in the fourth inning.
Ortiz struggles: Joe Ortiz allowed a run for the seventh time in 17 outings. He entered the game to get out the left-handed hitting Smith; lefties were batting .133 against Ortiz to start the game. But Smith got the best of the matchup, drilling a single to left field for a 4-1 A's lead. Chris Young followed with an RBI single for a 5-1 lead. Ortiz threw 40 pitches and had three walks.
Burns labors as well: The Rangers designated veteran Derek Lowe for assignment Monday to make room for Cory Burns in the bullpen. Burns allowed two runs in an inning of work. He got hurt by two grounds balls up the middle that went for singles, the second for an RBI for Eric Sogard.
Don't forget Kirkman: Struggling left-hander Michael Kirkman made it three straight relievers to give up a run, and four of the seven batters he faced got on base. Kirkman had two walks in the inning, giving him 13 walks in 18⅔ innings.
Murphy gets two more hits: David Murphy batted No. 2 in the Rangers' lineup for the third straight game and produced two singles in three at-bats. Murphy has four hits in 10 at-bats with a home run and five RBIs in his three games batting in the two-hole.
Up next: The Rangers will try to even the series with Oakland when they send right-hander Yu Darvish (7-1, 2.97 ERA) to the mound Tuesday against A's right-hander Dan Straily (1-2, 7.27) at 7:05 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM. Wednesday's series finale at 1:05 p.m. CT features right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-4, 3.98) against A's right-hander Jarrod Parker (2-5, 0.64).