Kevin Brown took a nondescript name and turned it into one with a reputation in Texas.
Chi Chi Gonzalez doesn't have to worry about his name being overlooked among a mundane roster, but he's also doing his best to tag it with early achievement.
The rookie has joined Brown as the last two Rangers pitchers to start their first two games in the majors and win both, and another victory Thursday in Oakland would make Gonzalez the first to do it in three.
Brown (1986-88) and Glen Cook (1985) were the only two to do it prior to Gonzalez (2-0, 0.00 ERA), though Brown's starts came in nonconsecutive seasons. The previous two also weren't quite as dominant with Cook allowing five total runs and Brown three, while Gonzalez is yet to surrender his first run.
Gonzalez threw a three-hitter in Friday's 4-0 win in Kansas City, and the right-hander has limited opponents to a .106 average, though he's walked seven in 14 2-3 innings. Only two came in the shutout.
"He was the poster boy for what we have been talking about with our pitchers," manager Jeff Banister told MLB's official website. "Three pitches or less, early contact and ground-ball outs."
He'll be starting for a club that can win a seventh straight series for the first time since June 8-July 1, 2012. The Rangers (31-28) would also be going for a three-game sweep if they hadn't allowed one to get away in Wednesday's 5-4 walk-off loss.
The teams have traded wins and losses all season with Oakland (24-37) holding a 5-4 advantage. The Athletics came from 4-2 down entering the bottom of the eighth Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.
"We used to specialize in those here for quite a while," manager Bob Melvin said. "It was nice to be able to come back from 4-2 to tie it, then come back and score another run. It was a good feeling."
Josh Reddick drove in the winning run in the ninth, and the right fielder is batting .500 with 14 RBIs in an eight-game hitting streak against Texas.
Scott Kazmir (2-4, 3.14) starts for an A's team looking to win consecutive home games for just the second time this year. It would be the club's second straight home series victory after going without a win in the first seven.
Kazmir's season began with two victories like Gonzalez, but he's gone winless in his last nine starts despite a 3.78 ERA. He hasn't qualified for a win in his last two, with a missed start sandwiched between due to shoulder tightness.
The left-hander returned in Friday's 4-2 loss in Boston and allowed four runs - three earned - and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
"I look at the pitches I made, the hits I gave up," said Kazmir, who will try to help the bullpen by going deep into his start after the relievers pitched 5 1-3 innings Wednesday. "I've just got to be better out there. I will be next time."
He's been much better at home with a 1-1 record and 1.65 ERA in five starts, with the victory coming by a 10-0 score over Texas on April 8. Kazmir limited the Rangers to a hit with 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
He faced them in a 7-5 win in Texas on May 1 and didn't get the decision after allowing three runs in six innings. He's 4-1 with a 3.41 ERA in six starts in the series since joining the A's.
Prince Fielder (2 for 14) and Robinson Chirinos (1 for 11) have struggled against Kazmir.