OAKLAND — Sean Manaea cut off the fluffy curls he brought to spring training and responded with his first major-league victory. He just needed a change.
Marcus Semien homered in support of Manaea, who allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Monday night.
“It took you a minute to focus and realize what happened,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s a lot of hair he cut off. He probably lost a few pounds.”
Khris Davis and Billy Butler drove in runs for the A’s, who won for the third time in four games following a five-game losing skid.
Drew Stubbs drove in a run for the Rangers, who lost for just the third time in 10 games.
Manaea (1-1) earned his first win in his fourth career start. He entered the game with a gaudy 11.37 ERA and finished at 7.91. He gave up a run, walked one and struck out two.
“First three starts didn’t go as well as I wanted to, and as a team we were kind of struggling,” Manaea said. “I just felt like it was time for a change. I shaved it last May. I got it cut this time in Tampa.”
Texas starter Derek Holland (3-3) turned in a quality start, though the one bad inning cost him. He gave up two runs and three hits over six innings. Holland walked one and struck out one.
“The hit by pitch, the jam shot and the walk put him in a challenging position,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “His struggle was finding the out pitch in that inning.”
Manaea retired 18 of the first 21 batters he faced and never had to labor through an inning. The left-hander gave up eight runs in 2 2/3 innings in his last start, against the Boston Red Sox.
“He came off a pretty tough outing, for someone who’s probably never experienced something like that,” Melvin said. “This is a good lineup. They’re playing well. To get us as deep as he did in the game like that and to keep them to one run is impressive.”
Holland took a no-hitter into the fourth and then got himself in trouble by hitting Billy Burns with a pitch and walking Danny Valencia sandwiched around a single by Josh Reddick. Davis hit a sacrifice fly and Butler followed with a single.
“He threw a lot of pitches that inning,” Banister said. “He had the challenge of not being able to put hitters away.”
Semien hit his 10th home run, a solo shot off Luke Jackson that sailed over the fence in center field.
Ryan Madson recorded the final three outs for his 11th save in as many chances.