OAKLAND, Calif. -- Billy Buckner's curveball was his ticket back to the big leagues, but the Arizona right-hander had to do without his best pitch in his first start since 2007.
Not that it mattered.
Buckner pitched 7 1/3 strong innings, Chris Young homered for the first time in a month and the Diamondbacks held on to beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 on Friday night.
"He's always had a good breaking ball, but seeing him pitch with conviction with his sinker and changeup, going right after hitters, is exactly what our club needed and exactly what he needed in a big start in the big leagues," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "As I told him on the mound, he did his job and gave us every chance to win that game."
Buckner, recalled from Triple-A Reno before the game, allowed only Matt Holliday's solo homer in the second while giving the Diamondbacks' weary bullpen a much-needed break. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out three while winning in his first start since Sept. 27, 2007 when he was with Kansas City.
Buckner had pitched strictly in relief for Arizona since being acquired from Kansas City in 2007, but dominated the slumping A's, allowing only one runner past first base after Holliday's leadoff homer in the second on a first-pitch fastball. Buckner (1-0) also overcame a pair of fielding errors by the Diamondbacks' defense.
"In the last four starts I made in Triple-A, my curveball was really my pitch," Buckner said. "It wasn't my best pitch tonight, but we were able to use some two-seamers and a few changeups. That's why you need three pitches as a starter. I enjoy starting. I guess the timing's perfect."
Young, batting in the ninth spot as a starter for the first time in his career, hit a solo home run off Trevor Cahill in the fifth to snap an 0-for-21 streak and put the Diamondbacks ahead 2-1.
Young, who normally bats sixth for the Diamondbacks, provided the big blow offensively with his sixth homer of the season and first since April 21, an 82 at-bat stretch. He also singled in the eighth and finished 2-for-3.
"Honestly, it felt like my first homer in the big leagues, I'm not going to lie," Young said. "I finally didn't pop it up. I finally got on top of it a little better."
Jon Rauch worked a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many chances, but had to pitch out of a jam with two outs and two on to do so.
The Diamondbacks have won three straight and five of six after losing seven of eight.
The A's, on the other hand, lost for the sixth time in their last eight games. Oakland entered with the second-best interleague record in the majors, but lost to Arizona for the sixth time in the last seven meetings between the two clubs, primarily because of Buckner's performance on the mound.
"I think none of us had ever had any at-bats off him, so anytime you face a guy you've never faced, there's a chance it could take a while to get used to what he's throwing," Holliday said. "He located his pitches pretty well ... and kept us off balance."
After Buckner quieted the A's offense, Esmerling Vasquez and Clay Zavada worked one-third of an inning each before Hinch went to Rauch, who got the call because closer Chad Qualls had pitched in the previous three games.
Rauch retired the first two batters in the ninth and then allowed a single to Nomar Garciaparra and walked Adam Kennedy before getting Ryan Sweeney to ground out to end the game.
Cahill, the 21-year-old Oakland righty who had won two of his previous three starts, was solid but took the loss. Cahill (2-4) scattered six hits over 7 1/3 innings and gave up both Arizona runs. He walked one and struck out five.
The A's activated Garciaparra from the 15-day disabled list before the game and started him at first base. Garciaparra, who went on the DL on April 29 with a strained right calf, batted sixth and went 1-for-4. ... To make room for Buckner, the Diamondbacks optioned RHP Kyler Newby to Double-A Mobile. ... Arizona RF Justin Upton singled in the ninth and has hit safely in 24 of his last 27 games. ... Oakland is 3-9 in one-run games this season.