Facing Yu Darvish has been no problem for the Oakland Athletics. They have beaten the Texas Rangers' Japanese ace four times, more than any other team.
Brandon Moss and John Jaso homered, Jarrod Parker went seven strong innings for his fourth consecutive victory and the AL West-leading A's beat the Rangers 6-2 on Tuesday night.
"We may do better against him than other teams, maybe, because we see him more often being in our division and we always seem to get him," Moss said. "But at the same time, it is really hard to face him because he's so unique and so different."
Darvish (7-3) had 10 strikeouts in his six innings, but the A's never trailed after Moss led off the second with his 13th homer. Jaso added a leadoff shot an inning later for 3-0 lead.
Parker (6-6) limited the Rangers to two runs and three hits over seven innings to improve to 4-0 his last five starts. The right-hander is 4-1 in five career starts against Texas.
And this time, he outpitched Darvish, though he tried not to think about the opposing pitcher.
"You know who you're going up against," Parker said. "It's something you know you have to be on your game, but you don't change too much because then you catch yourself trying to do too much and not be who you are."
Oakland (43-30) has a three-game division lead and will leave Texas later this week after the four-game series is done still in first place.
A night after breaking a six-game losing streak with a series-opening 8-7 victory in which the Rangers matched their run total during the skid, their only runs came on a play in the third when Ian Kinsler had a vicious collision at the plate.
Kinsler's face slammed into the mask of catcher Jaso while sliding feet-first. Kinsler needed three stitches near his left jaw and had blood on his jersey when he finally returned to the field to play second base.
He scored on a two-run single by A.J. Pierzynski, having to hold up momentarily from second to make sure the ball dropped before running and then was waved home by third base coach Gary Pettis.
The jarring hit jerked Kinsler's head backward, but he reached over with his foot to touch the plate, picked up his helmet and got up to go back to the dugout with the Rangers within 3-2. Home plate umpire Paul Nauert pointed out the cut to Kinsler, and rookie teammate Jurickson Profar cringed when he saw it.
The start of the fourth was delayed several minutes while Kinsler got stitches and team physician Dr. Keith Meister also screened him for any concussion symptoms.
"We had trainers making sure to relay the message to the umpires I was trying to get back in the game," said Kinsler, who otherwise offered mostly short, terse answers to questions in an interview that lasted less than a minute.
A's manager Bob Melvin was informed by umpires what was going on and had no problem with how the situation was handled.
"No rule for it, more of a judgment. It's just like someone going to the bathroom I guess," he said. "It wouldn't have broken my heart if Kinsler came out of the game, let's put it that way. He's a tough kid."
While getting stitches, Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister also screened Kinsler for any concussion symptoms.
The blood-stained jersey conjured up the memory of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan when he was hit on the mouth by a Bo Jackson comebacker on Sept. 8, 1990, and kept pitching with blood dripping onto his jersey. Ryan, now the Rangers' CEO, was sitting in the front row near the Texas dugout Tuesday night.
After play resumed, Josh Donaldson singled and Seth Smith doubled for the A's. Donaldson scored on a wild pitch and Smith came home on first baseman Lance Berkman's error.
Moss had a leadoff triple in the eighth, and scored on Donaldson's sacrifice fly.
Darvish had a 2.08 ERA his previous five starts, including four consecutive no-decisions after a 1-0 loss to Oakland on May 21 started his winless streak. That was five days after his last victory, 10-4 over Detroit.
The only 1-2-3 inning for Darvish was the sixth. He allowed five runs, four earned, and six hits. There were also two walks, a balk and that wild pitch and he fell to 1-4 in his career against Oakland.
"I didn't feel that I pitched badly," Darvish said through his interpreter. "But I think I gave up runs too easily."
Notes: Oakland is 25-11 since May 11, best record in the majors during that stretch. ... Jaso has reached based in 17 consecutive games, a career high. ... It was Darvish's 14th career 10-strikeout game. .. Texas starters have gone 17 games this month without a victory. That broke the team record of 16 in a row in 1975. ... Rangers SS Elvis Andrus, hitting .167 his last 25 games, was given a day off by manager Ron Washington.