ARLINGTON (AP) — David Murphy and Adrian Beltre homered in a three-run first inning, Ross Wolf was strong in his first major league start and the Texas Rangers avoided a sweep with a 3-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old Wolf was making his first big league appearance since Oct. 1, 2010, as a reliever with Oakland. He retired the first nine hitters and gave up one run with three strikeouts and two walks in five innings.
Neal Cotts preserved Wolf's lead by striking out the side with no outs and two runners on in the sixth. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for this 14th save.
Jarrod Parker (2-6) was down 3-0 just four batters into the game, but went seven innings.
Parker retired 11 of the next 12 Rangers after falling behind 3-0 and allowed six hits and five strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
Elvis Andrus snapped an 0-for-10 slump with a leadoff single in the first, and Murphy followed with a homer about 10 rows into the lower porch in right field. Two batters later, Beltre hit his 10th of the season halfway up the lawn in center.
Wolf, who got his first big league win after 25 career relief appearances, was filling in for rookie Nick Tepesch, who was skipped because of a blister. It was the second time in three days a Texas pitcher has made his first major league start after previous stints as a reliever with other teams. Josh Lindblom lost to Oakland on Monday.
The A's had runners at second and third with no outs in the fifth against Wolf when Andrus made a sliding catch over his shoulder on a blooper into left from Eric Sogard. Wolf then got Adam Rosales on an infield popup and Coco Crisp on a grounder.
Leury Garcia made two tough plays in the third inning. Garcia did enough to stop a tough short hop and scrambled to throw out Derek Norris by half a step, then went far to his right to get Sogard on a grounder.
Oakland scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Moss in the fourth.
Cotts was pitching a day after getting three outs on six pitches in his first major league appearance since May 25, 2009. He escaped more trouble in the seventh when he got Rosales on a lineout and Crisp on a foul pop with a runner at third.
Wolf spent the 2012 season in the Rangers' system after signing a minor league deal in April. He was 1-2 with a 2.02 ERA, including a 1.85 ERA in six starts.
Notes: Rangers RHP Cory Burns was optioned to Round Rock to make room for Wolf. ... Tepesch is scheduled to start Sunday at Seattle, and Yu Darvish will pitch the first game of a day-night doubleheader in Arizona on Monday. The second starter is undecided. ... A's SS Jed Lowrie didn't start after fouling a pitch off his right foot Tuesday night. ... Oakland OF Josh Reddick (sprained right wrist) was eligible to come off the DL Wednesday and will join the team Friday in Houston for limited batting practice.