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1B Mitch Moreland, 4-for-43 since the All-Star break entering the game, belted only his third home run in his last 36 games. "It's always good to get a home run," Moreland said. "I'm just trying to continue to build on the process. It was a good day for all of us."
RHP Yu Darvish was dominant in 7-1 victory over Arizona on Thursday. He matched a career-high 14 strikeouts and gave up five hits over seven innings. Darvish has a major-league-best eight games with 10 strikeouts or more this season, and his 16 in 50 career starts are second only to Dwight Gooden, who had 20 in 1984-85. "He was throwing fastballs to the corners, he had a really good split tonight and had a really good slider," C A.J. Pierzynski said. "He just kept mixing it up and the strikeouts kept coming." Darvish said the inconsistent movement on his slider "worked in my favor."
DH Lance Berkman, who had been considering retirement because of a lingering left hip injury, said he will continue rehabilitation in the hope of returning to the team later this month. Berkman said his return will hinge on when he can run the bases, though he's shooting to begin a rehabilitation assignment Aug. 8 or 9. Berkman has missed 22 games with left hip inflammation. "I've made up my mind that this is what this team needs to happen and I'm going to do my dangdest to give them everything I've got," Berkman said.
RF Nelson Cruz went 0-for-3 with a 50-game suspension looming for his alleged association to the Biogenesis PED scandal. Cruz, who left the game early as a precaution against aggravating a left quad strain, could appeal a suspension, though he reiterated on Thursday that he hasn't made any decisions about an appeal if or when the decision is handed down. "It's tough. I mean, we're in a good situation now, we're close to first place and close to the wild card also," Cruz said. "Hopefully everything plays well."
RHP Alexi Ogando will start the opener of a three-game series against AL West Division leader Oakland. Ogando is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in two starts since returning from the disabled list. The loss came in his last start, 6-0 to Cleveland, as he gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings. Ogando defeated Oakland in May, giving up two runs on four hits and three strikeouts in six innings of a 6-2 victory. "It's important because Oakland is in first place, but it's not do or die," said manager Ron Washington, whose team enters 3 1/2 games behind the A's.
SS Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak on the majors. Andrus, who struggled in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break, is hitting .333 during the streak to raise his average to .253 and has reached base in 27 of the past 29 games.