Preview: Athletics at Rangers

Texas ace Yu Darvish attempts to halt a five-start winless streak when the Rangers host the first-place Oakland Athletics in the second contest of a four-game series on Tuesday. Darvish hasn’t won since May 16 despite allowing two or fewer earned runs in four of his last five outings. The Rangers ended a six-game skid by beating Oakland in Monday’s opener as Nelson Cruz homered twice and drove in four runs.

Oakland has lost three of four games following a stretch during which it went 21-6 and catapulted past Texas atop the American League West standings. The Athletics are two games ahead of the Rangers, who had scored two or fewer runs in six straight games to tie a franchise record before breaking out in Monday’s 8-7 victory. Cruz has 18 homers this season, but the two-homer effort marked his first multi-homer performance since June 23, 2012.

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Southwest (Texas)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.64)

Parker has won three consecutive decisions and allowed two or fewer runs in four straight outings. He received a no-decision in his last turn, when he held the New York Yankees to two runs and five hits in eight innings. Parker is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against Texas, with the loss coming on May 22, when he yielded three runs and six hits - including homers by David Murphy and Adrian Beltre - in seven frames.

Darvish lost to Oakland on May 21, when he allowed one run - a homer by Yoenis Cespedes - and five hits in six innings. He has received four straight no-decisions since that defeat, including last Thursday's outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he gave up one run and three hits in seven frames. Darvish is 1-3 with a 3.81 ERA in four career starts vs. the Athletics.

WALK-OFFS

1. Rangers DH Lance Berkman is expected back in the lineup after missing back-to-back games with knee soreness.

2. Cespedes (hamstring) has served as the designated hitter in four consecutive games and figures to do so again Tuesday.

3. Cruz has struck out five times in 12 hitless at-bats against Parker.

PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Athletics 1