OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kevin Millwood assigned himself additional work between starts to work out a kink or two in his mechanics. The result was his first win for the Texas Rangers.
Millwood struck out seven in a 6-3 victory over Barry Zito and the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
"I threw two long bullpens in between to try and get my mechanics just right," Millwood said. "For me, seeing is not enough. I have to feel it. I could feel it. I felt like I was back in the right slot."
Millwood, the Rangers' top signing in free agency in the offseason, took a one-hitter into the fifth inning, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters. Frank Thomas broke up the shutout with his 450th career homer leading off the fifth.
"I'll take five runs every time, especially against Zito," Millwood said. "When you face a guy like that you're happy to get two or three."
Millwood (1-2) went seven innings, allowing seven hits as he beat the A's for the third time in three career starts.
"I prepared better for this game than for any other this season," Millwood said. "My first start was just bad and in my second start I had one bad inning so I was able to take some positives out of that. It all goes back to preparation."
D'Angelo Jimenez drove in a pair of runs for the Rangers, who won their second straight after opening the season 2-7. Rod Barajas, Mark DeRosa and Gary Matthews also had RBI for Texas and Michael Young had two hits.
"You always want to beat guys who own you and Zito owns us," Barajas said. "It's nice to put another 'L' into that column. I hope we can put together more games like this."
Dan Johnson ended an 0-for-27 start with a broken-bat single to drive in Oakland's second run in the fifth. Thomas, who also singled, had his second homer of the season but the A's suffered their fourth straight loss.
"I feel a thousand pounds lighter," Johnson said. "It didn't matter what it was, just as long as it hit the ground and I was safely on base."
The Rangers took advantage of Zito's second-inning wildness. Zito hit Phil Nevin and walked Hank Blalock and DeRosa ahead of Jimenez's single.
"I was a little too fired up," Zito said. "I was missing up in the zone with my fastball and had to rely on my changeup."
Zito (1-2) allowed five runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out six. After Brad Wilkerson doubled in the fourth, Zito retired 12 of his final 13 hitters.
"I've faced Barry a lot and he's had a lot of success against us," Young said. "There's no reason to figure it out; just step back and keep looking for good pitches. Finishing strong showed why he's one of the best."
Zito lost to the Rangers for just the third time in 25 career starts. He's 15-3 against Texas, his most wins against any opponent. The A's fell to 21-4 against the Rangers when Zito starts.
Zito has lost nine of his last 12 April decisions and is 11-15 overall in the month with a 5.10 ERA, his highest of any month.
"I don't want to go through it again," Zito said. "I don't expect to have a rough April or a rough May or anything like it. I want to get back on it."
Milton Bradley homered in the ninth for Oakland, which has lost the first game of all four series this season.
Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson was activated from the 15-day disabled list. RHP Scott Feldman was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... DeRosa was back in the lineup after missing six games with a strained left leg. ... Rangers OF Kevin Mench was out of the lineup after receiving a cortisone shot for a right toe sprain. ... A's RHP Jay Witasick was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained left ankle. OF Bobby Kielty was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. ... Johnson tied an Oakland record by starting the season 0-for-27. Joe Wallis also did it in 1979.