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A's-Rangers: Dallas Braden Looks To Lead A's In Bounce Back

(Sports Network) – The Texas Rangers continue to dominate the AL West and are set for the second of three weekend games with second-place Oakland at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Dallas Braden, who has been rather inconsistent on the mound this season despite throwing a perfect game, will take the hill tonight and is 4-2 with a 2.81 ERA in seven appearances since the All-Star break.

Braden is 8-9 overall this season with a 3.49 ERA. He posted his third consecutive quality start on Sunday against the Rays, but still lost the game.

Braden is 1-4 lifetime versus Texas with a 4.15 ERA.

Texas will give the ball to Rich Harden tonight, and he hopes to build on the success he achieved Monday against the Twins.

In his return from the DL (right shoulder tendinitis), Harden tossed 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball, but it is certainly understandable why manager Ron Washington removed to hard-throwing righty from the game. He had thrown 111 pitches by that point, struggling with his control at times. Still, he was able to push his record to 5-4 with a 5.00 ERA.

Harden has only logged 9 1/3 lifetime innings against the Athletics and is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA.

Michael Young and David Murphy each knocked in two runs as Texas topped Oakland, 7-3, in the opener of this series yesterday.

Josh Hamilton added three hits and an RBI, while Elvis Andrus and Vladimir Guerrero knocked in a run each for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have won five of their last six and sit 9 1/2 games ahead of the A’s in the division.

“If we hit, pitch and play defense consistently, we’ll be in good shape,” Hamilton said.

Tommy Hunter (11-2) worked 7 2/3 innings, yielding seven hits and three runs to win for the third time in four decisions.

The Rangers upped their streak to 72 straight games scoring at least one run at home.

Kevin Kouzmanoff launched a two-run shot for the Athletics, who have lost two in a row.

Brett Anderson (3-5) departed after two innings with a hyperextended right knee, but not before taking the loss by allowing six hits and four runs with a pair of walks.

“It’s unfortunate. I was throwing well up to this point, but stuff happens that you can’t control,” Anderson said.

Texas has won seven of the 13 meetings between these rivals so far in 2010, with the Rangers taking five of the seven matchups held in Arlington.