The Texas Rangers haven’t won a series since late June and have a chance to end that dubious fact when they host the Oakland Athletics on Sunday in the finale of a three-game set. Texas has lost 28 of its past 34 games after falling to the Athletics on Saturday and last won a series when it took two of three from the Minnesota Twins from June 27-29. Oakland bounced back from Friday’s series-opening loss by pounding four homers in Saturday’s 5-1 win.
John Jaso hit a two-run homer in the sixth to get the Athletics’ power display going and Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick added solo shots as Oakland improved the best record in the majors to 64-39. "Home runs are part of our game,” manager Bob Melvin told reporters afterward, “so you just have to stay with it at times when you go into some droughts a few innings in a row and know that one swing can get you going.” The struggling Rangers possess the worst record (41-63) in the big leagues and also own the worst home mark at 19-31.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.48)
Kazmir is 2-0 over his last four starts, allowing just three earned runs and 17 hits in 26 1/3 innings during the stretch. He wasn’t involved in the decision against Houston in his last turn despite giving up only one earned run and seven hits in seven innings. Kazmir is 7-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 15 career starts against Texas, including a victory April 29 when he allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings.
Mikolas turned in the best start of his major-league career when he defeated the New York Yankees on Monday. He allowed two runs and four hits while pitching a career-long 7 1/3 innings. Mikolas has been roughed up in both his home starts, giving up 13 earned runs and 21 hits over nine innings.
1. Oakland will likely activate INF Alberto Callaspo (hamstring) prior to Sunday’s game.
2. Texas SS Elvis Andrus is 8-for-23 against Kazmir, while 3B Adrian Beltre has struck out 11 times while going 6-for-29 with a homer.
3. Jaso left Saturday’s game with soreness in his left knee but is expected to be available for the finale.
PREDICTION: Athletics 6, Rangers 3