A's Gaudin wins fourth straight
Right-hander backed by homers from Buck, Chavez
OAKLAND -- One of the Bay Area newspapers ran a headline Monday reading, "A's starters in a slump." Not entirely off base, but not quite spot on, either.
Chad Gaudin is an A's starter, and he's flat out on a roll.
Gaudin, who shut down the White Sox last Wednesday to give Oakland one of its two wins on a six-game trip through Chicago and Baltimore, on Monday improved to 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in six May starts by handcuffing the visiting Rangers in a 5-3 triumph that opened a three-game series at McAfee Coliseum.
Rookie outfielder Travis Buck hit a solo homer in the first inning, ailing third baseman Eric Chavez drilled a three-run shot in the third, and that was more than enough backing for Gaudin, who helped spoil longtime A's infield coach Ron Washington's return as Texas' rookie manager with 6 2/3 innings of four-hit work.
"Velocity and movement are the two big things in pitching," A's manager Bob Geren said when asked about Gaudin's consistency this season, "and he has that naturally."
Slumping? In 11 starts this year, Gaudin has allowed more than three earned runs once. And the A's offset that rare clunker -- four earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Indians on May 13 -- with a rousing 10-7 comeback victory.
The only run against Gaudin on Monday came on another rarity -- an error by six-time Gold Glove winner Chavez, whose throw past first baseman Dan Johnson rattled around in foul ground long enough to allow Mike Young to score from first base with two out in the sixth inning.
"Chad's the one guy you could really say has kept us alive," said Chavez, who showed signs of life himself with the homer and an eighth-inning double.
Bothered by injuries for much of the past season and a quarter, Chavez missed three of the last five games on the road trip with what Geren called triceps tendinitis, and Chavez went 1-for-13 in the three road games in which he played.
His homer Monday was No. 6 on the year and gave him 88 career RBIs against Texas, his most against any team.
"He's such a tremendous player," Gaudin said of Chavez. "And he's a tremendous battler, too. The guy's been dealing with all kinds of tough, nagging, lingering injuries for a long time, and he just takes it in stride and still goes out there and plays like a true professional. I've got the utmost respect for him, and I hope the fans do, too.
"He's a warrior."
He's also either scheduled for some sort of medical testing or waiting for the results of such.
He wouldn't say which, but he told reporters, "We'll know everything in a couple of days. I'll tell you everything you need to know."
When he saw reporters looking to Geren for some sort of clarity minutes later, Chavez, perhaps the most open and honest Athletic in recent history, was clearly miffed.
"I told you I'd tell you everything you need to know," he said as he left the clubhouse.
With that, Geren essentially withdrew himself from any Chavez-related discussion.
Prior to that, Geren was happy to chat about the performances of a couple of his relievers. The Rangers made it interesting late, taking advantage of an outless outing -- two singles and a walk -- by Kiko Calero during a two-run top of the eighth, but former Texas starter Colby Lewis, in his second relief appearance with the A's, struck out pinch-hitter Sammy Sosa with the bases loaded and one out, then got a foul pop to escape the jam.
Lefty Alan Embree came on for a perfect ninth to lock down his third save in three chances as Oakland's interim closer in the absence of closer Huston Street and setup man Justin Duchscherer, both on the disabled list.
"Kiko ... didn't have it tonight," Geren said. "And the way our bullpen's banged up, you're always looking for someone to step up. Colby ... and Embree were tremendous."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.