Cust's homer, Crosby's three-run double more than enough for rookie Outman

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Long after the Oakland Athletics' clubhouse had cleared out Saturday, Jack Cust remained locked away in a side room studying video of himself batting.

With only a few weeks left in the season, the veteran designated hitter wants to make sure he ends the season strong.

He also wants to set the tone for Oakland's younger players.

"I'm just trying to go about my business the same as always," Cust said. "Obviously there are a lot of things I feel I can improve on, but I'm just trying to finish strong and set a good example for these young guys, show them the intensity and the way you need to play a game up here."

Cust did his part, hitting a two-run home run to spark Oakland's offense in a 7-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

Bobby Crosby added a three-run double and Josh Outman earned his first major league victory as the A's snapped a two-game losing streak.

Oakland, which entered the game last in the majors in hitting and slugging percentage, had scored only one run in its previous 23 innings before breaking out against the Rangers.

The A's scored twice in the fourth on Cust's 29th homer of the season then added five more in the fifth.

Cust also struck out for the 178th time this season, eight shy of the American League record set by Milwaukee's Rob Deer in 1987.

"He's been that kind of player his whole career," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He gets deep in a lot of counts. That's why you get a lot of walks and that's why he'll end up getting a lot of strikeouts."

Outman had three strikeouts and was effective enough to get the win in his first major league start. The rookie lefty, who began the season in Philadelphia's minor league system, allowed one run and four hits over five innings.

"It was incredible," said Outman, the fifth rookie pitcher to start a game for the A's this season. "My first major league start, I can't really describe it as anything other than that. I commanded all four of my pitches and threw breaking balls for strikes consistently. That's something I hadn't done."

Outman (1-0) allowed an RBI double to Nelson Cruz in the second inning but only one other runner reached second base. He got some help from the A's defense, which turned a pair of double plays.

Huston Street, Jerry Blevins, Joey Devine and Brad Ziegler combined for four shutout innings.

Texas manager Ron Washington blamed the Rangers' lackluster offense rather than credit Outman.

"I wasn't impressed," Washington said. "We had some scoring opportunities on him and when we didn't make them he did what most pitchers are supposed to do, make his pitches and get out of the inning. If he was around after the fifth, it would have been a different story."

The A's took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Cust's home run then had three hits and three walks in the fifth to break the game open.

Aaron Cunningham hit a two-run single off Scott Feldman (5-7) and Crosby greeted reliever Luis Mendoza with a bases-loaded double to right-center to make it 7-1. Feldman has just one win in his past eight starts.

"I know I've got a lot of areas to improve in but considering it was the first year I've thrown like this and first time starting since college, I hope I showed them that I've got potential," Feldman said. "Hopefully, I'll do nothing but improve."

Texas scored after right fielder Ryan Sweeney slipped and fell chasing Cruz's fly. The drive allowed Marlon Byrd to score, but Sweeney recovered and the relay throw home caught Hank Blalock trying to score from first.

Texas designated hitter Milton Bradley was ejected after arguing with first base umpire Angel Campos about a double play.

Bradley thought he beat the relay throw from Oakland second baseman Cliff Pennington and argued the call with Campos. Bradley continued exchanging words from the dugout as Washington came out to discuss the play.

Washington left but moments later Campos signaled an ejection -- it was the fourth time Bradley was ejected this season.

Bradley, who has been bothered by a lower back sprain, sprinted back from the dugout back onto the field and yelled at Campos, and first base coach Gary Pettis stepped between them.

Umpire crew chief Tim McClelland ran down the line from home plate, and Washington came back out to help intercede as Pettis pushed back Bradley.

Notes: Texas C Gerald Laird batted leadoff for only the second time this season. Laird went 1-for-4 with three flyouts. ... The A's raised $116,750 on their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and Northern California Cancer Center.