Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Athletics vs. Rangers: Oakland split series, stands pat

The A's were forced to settle for a series split in Arlington. They will need to fight tooth and nail to protect their spot in the Wild Card race.

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Oakland sees hopes of capturing West slip away

The Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers squared off in the final game of a four-game series in Arlington on Thursday afternoon. The A's were hoping to pick up the series win and move to within two games of the Rangers in the American League West, but ultimately had to settle for a series split and will remain four games out following a 9-7 loss. Their hopes of capturing the division title are now a long shot at best.

Oakland starter Travis Blackey was far from sharp, giving up five costly runs to the Rangers in the first inning and departing in the second. Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to get the A's in a hole early. Michael Young followed up with a two-run single and Mike Napoli belted a two-run homer. By the time the A's came to bat in the top of the second, they were down 5-0.

Josh Reddick got the A's on the board in the top of the second with his 30th home run of the year. The Rangers got that run right back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double from Josh Hamilton. Jonny Gomes hit an RBI double of his own in the top of the third to make it 6-2, but again the Rangers answered back with an RBI single from Napoli in the bottom of the frame.

Derek Norris hit a two-out, two-run homer in the fourth that made it 7-4, but Texas again matched Oakland with two runs in the bottom of the inning to push the lead back out to 9-4. The A's threatened late, with a big three-run inning in the top of the eighth thanks to home runs by Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Reddick. For the first time in the game, the A's were within two runs, but were unable to close the gap in the ninth.

The Athletics' five home runs in the game extended their MLB lead in that category. Cespedes now has 22 on the year, Moss has 20 and Reddick has 31.

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A's strikeouts haven't stopped them from winning

The Oakland A's have set the all-time record for strikeouts in the American League, but they just keep winning regardless.

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A's vs. Rangers: Game time, TV schedule, lineups

The Oakland Athletics will look to snag their third win in a row against the AL West leading Texas Rangers when the teams wrap up a huge four-game series in Arlington on Thursday afternoon. A win would also help hold off a surging Los Angeles Angels club that has won five in a row and trails the A's by just two games for the second AL Wild Card spot.

Oakland will send left-hander Travis Blackley (5-3, 3.75) to the hill. He's making his 13th start for the A's 2012, after spending some time in the bullpen and returning to the rotation last week when Brett Anderson was shelved by an oblique strain. Blackley managed to last just two innings in his last start against the Yankees, giving up four runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks.

Texas will counter with right-hander Matt Harrison (17-10, 3.17). Harrison, who has been a horse for the Rangers all season, has been a bit shaky in his last five starts, posting a 2-3 record with a 3.90 ERA.

The starting lineups for Thursday's game are as follows:

Oakland Athletics (88-67)

  1. Stephen Drew (L) SS
  2. Jonny Gomes (R) LF
  3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) DH
  4. Chris Carter (R) 1B
  5. Brandon Moss (L) RF
  6. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
  7. Josh Reddick (L) CF
  8. Derek Norris (R) C
  9. Adam Rosales (R) 2B

Texas Rangers (91-64)

  1. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
  2. Elvis Andrus (R) SS
  3. Josh Hamilton (L) LF
  4. Adrian Beltre (R) 3B
  5. Nelson Cruz (R) RF
  6. Michael Young (R) 1B
  7. Mike Napoli (R) DH
  8. Geovany Soto (R) C
  9. Craig Gentry (R) CF

First pitch is schedule for 11:05 a.m. PT in Arlington, and the game will be broadcast on 95.7 FM - The Game.

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Oakland keeps messing with Texas in a big way

On Wednesday night, the Oakland Athletics went ahead two games to one in their four-game series against the Texas Rangers with a dominating 9-3 victory. More importantly, they helped strengthen their standing in both the Wild Card race and the American League West. With the win, the A's moved to just three games behind the Rangers in the division -- with four more games left to play against Texas before the season is over.

The A's put a huge hurt on Texas right away, as they tagged starter Martin Perez for five runs in the top of the first and knocked him out of the game after just two-thirds of an inning. Yoenis Cespedes drove in Stephen Drew with a triple to get the scoring started and came in to score himself on a Chris Carter single. Josh Donaldson drove in a pair of runs with a single and scored on another triple -- this time by Derek Norris. Before the Rangers even came up to bat, Oakland was ahead 5-0.

Elvis Andrus hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning to get one of those runs back for the Rangers and picked up another two runs in the second to cut the lead to 5-3. Oakland answered back in the top of the third, as Drew drove in another pair of runs with an RBI single to make it 7-3. In the top of the fourth, Norris added another RBI single. Jarrod Parker and the Oakland bullpen held the Rangers to just those three runs for the remainder of the game. Norris takced on one last run for the A's with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. Norris was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Drew was 4-for-5 with two runs driven in from the leadoff spot.

The A's will try to move to two games back and capture the series on Thursday.

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Athletics vs. Rangers Tuesday night lineups

The Oakland Athletics will look to bounce back from a heartbreaking 5-4 loss in Monday night's series-opener with the Texas Rangers when they play the second of a crucial four-game set on Tuesday night.

The A's lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL Wild Card spot has been thinned to just two games, and with the Angels beginning a three-game series against the lowly Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, the A's will need every win they can get to hold that lead.

Oakland will send left-hander Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.86) to the mound. He's been solid for the club of late, posting a 3-1 record with a 3.81 ERA in his last five starts.

The Rangers will counter with right-hander Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.19). Feldman has been been shaky in his last five starts, posting an 0-2 record with a bloated 6.85 ERA.

The starting lineups for Tuesday night's game are as follows:

Oakland Athletics (86-67)

  1. Cliff Pennington (S) 2B
  2. Stephen Drew (L) SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) CF
  4. Brandon Moss (L) RF
  5. Seth Smith (L) LF
  6. Chris Carter (R) DH
  7. Daric Barton (L) 1B
  8. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
  9. George Kottaras (L) C

Texas Rangers (91-62)

  1. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B
  2. Elvis Andrus (R) SS
  3. Josh Hamilton (L) CF
  4. Adrian Beltre (R) 3B
  5. Nelson Cruz (R) RF
  6. Michael Young (R) 1B
  7. David Murphy (L) LF
  8. Mike Napoli (R) DH
  9. Geovany Soto (R) C
First pitch is slated for 5:05 p.m. PST and the game will be televised on CSNCA. The radio broadcast will be on 95.7 FM The Game.

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