The Texas Rangers have emerged from the doldrums at a great time and have a chance to claim a series win against first-place Oakland when the teams meet Thursday afternoon. The Rangers had lost six straight and had seen their offense disappear before the Athletics came to town with a three-game lead over Texas, but the hosts have produced 19 runs in taking two of the first three games.
The Rangers pounded out 14 hits, three apiece by Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, to pick up a 9-4 triumph Wednesday. The offensive outburst enabled a Texas starter - in this case Justin Grimm - to win a game for the first time all month. It was also the Rangers' highest scoring output since May 30. Following the series finale, the teams will not play again until Aug. 2.
TV: 2:05 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet California (Oakland), Fox Sports Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH A.J. Griffin (5-6, 3.93 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Josh Lindblom (0-2, 5.94)
Griffin is 0-3 over his last four starts and has allowed exactly four runs in four of his last five outings. This will be the fifth time in six starts that Griffin has pitched on the road. He was at home on May 13 when he limited Texas to a run in seven innings, striking out eight. That was the only start this season in which the 25-year-old did not walk a batter.
The 26-year-old Lindblom will be making his fourth career start after two seasons in the National League as a reliever. He was knocked around by Oakland at home on May 20, when he gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-2 loss. Since then, the righty has been a bit better, lasting six innings in each of his last two starts, striking out eight and walking one.
1. Murphy's three hits game him his first multi-hit effort in 17 games this month.
2. Oakland OF Chris Young is 6-for-12 with two homers and a double in his last five games. He was batting .169 prior to the hot stretch.
3. Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland (hamstring) is expected to come off the disabled list Friday.
PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Rangers 4