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Graveman solid in loss to Rangers

Righty fans 7 during 6 quality frames; A's bats quiet behind him
MLB.com @JaneMLB

ARLINGTON -- Kendall Graveman remains winless but continues to show signs of a revival, the changeup at the forefront of a changed approach for the A's pitcher.

The right-hander was liberal with the pitch in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night, relying on it moreso than his signature sinker while also showcasing his modified delivery. His efforts were encouraging, but the A's bats were mostly silent as their four-game winning streak was snapped.

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ARLINGTON -- Kendall Graveman remains winless but continues to show signs of a revival, the changeup at the forefront of a changed approach for the A's pitcher.

The right-hander was liberal with the pitch in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night, relying on it moreso than his signature sinker while also showcasing his modified delivery. His efforts were encouraging, but the A's bats were mostly silent as their four-game winning streak was snapped.

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Graveman completed six innings and didn't allow a homer, marking the first time in six tries he was able to check off both to-dos. He walked four but also struck out seven in a three-run outing, after allowing at least four runs in each of his other starts.

Video: OAK@TEX: Graveman spins to turn 1-6-3 DP

"He mixed his pitches again and overall threw better, we just didn't score too many runs for him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We just didn't play a good game overall."

Graveman weaved his way through a steady stream of traffic -- he stranded seven baserunners -- and ran his pitch count up to 112, 51 of which were changeups. Never before in his career has he thrown it as much. In contrast, he utilized his sinker 49 times.

"Getting better," Graveman said. "I thought the changeup was really good. Got a lot of swing-and-misses. For me, that's a big plus, something I'm working on, and I thought it showed up really good tonight. Soft contact, kept the ball in the yard, gave us a chance to win, and now I just have to find ways to limit damage."

Khris Davis' two-run homer against Rangers starter Doug Fister in the third inning accounted for Oakland's only runs, leaving Graveman little wiggle room. The Rangers responded with a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take the lead, staging a two-out rally and getting RBI knocks from Nomar Mazara and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Video: OAK@TEX: Davis jacks a two-run homer to right

Graveman dropped to 0-5 with an 8.89 ERA.

"Just continue to get better and try to put up wins when I get out there and win as a team when I'm pitching," he said.

The A's had a prime scoring opportunity in the eighth when Marcus Semien reached second base on a two-base throwing error by Falefa, but he was easily tagged out at third after attempting to tag on Jed Lowrie's flyout to Delino DeShields in center.

Video: OAK@TEX: DeShields turns 8-5 double play in 8th

"We're gonna run on DeShields," Melvin said. "That's the scouting report, and that's the best throw I've seen him make, so I'm sure that's what Marcus was thinking when he took off."

BUCHTER EXITS WITH INJURY
A's lefty Ryan Buchter recorded just one out before exiting in the seventh with shoulder stiffness. He'll be re-evaluated in Houston on Friday.

"Looked at the velocity, it was down a bit and just didn't want to mess around with that," Melvin said. "There's been times he's had better days than others, but the velo's always been there, and whenever we feel like it's bothering him a little, we give him a day off. Today was a day all of a sudden the velo wasn't there, and we didn't want to push him."

Video: OAK@TEX: Buchter strikes out Choo, but leaves game

Right-hander Emilio Pagan took over and surrendered an RBI triple to Ronald Guzman in the eighth.

SOUND SMART
Davis has 18 home runs against the Rangers since the start of the 2016 season. That's the most for any player in the Major Leagues against any single opponent over that period. His 17 home runs against the Mariners are the second most against any opponent.

HE SAID IT
"That was big for myself to go back out there and finish that inning. That's one thing I'm working toward, to get deeper in the ballgame. You see the starters around here doing a good job of that, and I'm ready to hop on board and jump on with them."
-- Graveman

UP NEXT
The A's will spend Thursday's off-day in Houston, before beginning a three-game series at Minute Maid Park for their first meeting of the season with the defending world champion Astros. Left-hander Sean Manaea (3-2, 1.23 ERA) will be on the mound for his first start since Saturday's no-hitter, while Houston will counter with lefty Dallas Keuchel in the 5:10 p.m. PT affair on Friday.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.

Oakland Athletics, Kendall Graveman