ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nomar Mazara brought plenty of confidence into his sophomore big league season, and he sure isn’t going to lose any of that with this start.
Mazara hit his first grand slam and had a career-high six RBIs to lead the Rangers over the Oakland Athletics 10-5 Friday night for their first victory of the season.
Mazara is hitting .588, including 3 for 5 in this one. He’s set a club record with nine RBIs in the first four games of the season, and he leads the majors with 10 hits.
“He’s a special player,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of Mazara, who will turn 22 later this month. “We saw this last year.”
“I’m not using my body as much,” Mazara said, “trying to stay back on the ball and seeing the pitches better.”
Rougned Odor hit his third homer of the season and had two hits. Texas was swept by Cleveland in its three-game opening series, also at home.
Alex Claudio (1-0) replaced starter A.J. Griffin in the fourth inning and held the A’s to one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Griffin left with scrapes on his pitching palm and both knees after he slid on the warning track near the Oakland dugout trying to back up an overthrow by Mazara from right field.
Raul Alcantara (0-1) allowed a career-high eight runs and four hits – including both homers – over two innings. He also hit a batter in his sixth big league start.
Mazara got his first RBI in the first inning when Yonder Alonso barely missed stepping on first base after fielding Mazara’s ground ball, allowing Carlos Gomez to score from third. Mazara then homered to center in the second inning.
Last April, Mazara had seven RBIs and was named the AL Rookie of the Month. He was hitting .322 on June 11 but struggled down the stretch and finished at .266. He said he got away from his hitting plan as pitchers adjusted to him.
“He knows now he needs to stay true to his routine, stay true to his approach,” Banister said.
Matt Joyce hit a three-run homer in the third after being robbed of a first-inning shot by Gomez in right-center in front of Texas’ bullpen.
Khris Davis’ fourth-inning home run was his third of the season. Last year, Davis hit 10 homers off Texas pitchers.
Griffin gave up four runs and four hits – including two home runs – plus two walks and a hit batter. He said he thinks he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said long reliever Jesse Hahn saved Oakland’s short-handed bullpen by pitching six innings in relief.
“He knew he was probably going to be out there for a while,” Melvin said. “Made the most of it.”
A broken-bat single by Shin-Soo Choo struck Hahn in the right foot while the barrel of the bat flew past his left shoulder.
“Honestly, I didn’t see the bat,” Hahn said. “I kind of sensed that it was near me.”
Adrian Beltre, on the disabled list with right-calf tightness, turned 38 on Friday. … The Rangers also began the 2016 season 1-3 before finishing with the league’s best record for the first time in club history. … Joyce went 2 for 4 after going 1 for 9 in his previous three games.
A’s: RHP Sonny Gray (lat strain) was pleased with Friday’s 35-pitch bullpen session, his second in four days.
A’s: RHP Kendall Graveman (1-0) struck out seven, one short of his career high set last April, in holding the Angels to two runs in six innings in Oakland’s opener
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