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Extra Bases: Williams solid in debut

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jerome Williams said it isn’t his style to nitpick around the strike zone.

The 32-year-old right-hander prefers to go right at an opponent, even if the team in the other dugout is the explosive Oakland Athletics.

“That was my game plan, to go after them," Williams said Friday following a sparkling six-inning performance in which he allowed only five hits and one run in the Texas Rangers' 4-1 victory.

He issued no walks and struck out four.

“If they are going to get on base, they have to earn it," Williams added.

On a very warm night, Williams needed only 88 pitches for 18 outs. He was activated earlier in the day so he could make the start.

“It was an outstanding job," manager Ron Washington said. “I’ll take six innings every time. He was changing speeds well. Against that lineup, he did a good job."

Before the game, Washington was not committing to Williams’ future role, telling him just to pitch his game and take advantage of the opportunity.

Afterward, Williams said he didn’t feel he had to prove anything during the contest.

But his 2014 statistics haven’t been encouraging.

He began the season working out of the Houston bullpen and went 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA. On July 8, he was released by the Astros.

Four days later the Rangers signed Williams to a minor league contract. With Triple-A Round Rock, Williams made a pair of starts, going 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA.

But back on a major league mound, Williams appeared calm and in control. He left Rangers fans looking for more.

The Rangers and Athletics are set meet Saturday night in Game 2 of the series, with Nick Tepesch to oppose Oakland’s Sonny Gray in the 7:05 p.m. CT start at Globe Life Park.