The Texas Rangers showed more spark than they had in the past week by rallying to win their series opener against the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers will next try to give Yu Darvish some more support while denying A's right-hander Jarrod Parker a career high-tying fourth consecutive victory Tuesday night.Texas was outscored 34-8 during a six-game losing streak but avoided its longest skid in five years with an 8-7 victory Monday. The Rangers gave up six runs in the fourth inning but responded by taking the lead for good in the fifth.A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out RBI double, and Nelson Cruz drove in two more runs with his second homer of the night. The win pushed Texas (39-31) to within two games of Oakland (42-30) in the division."We were looking for what happened, get some base hits in RBI situations and just keep grinding," manager Ron Washington said. "They just showed what they have the capability of doing, what they did tonight."The Rangers will try to slice that deficit again with help from Darvish (7-2, 2.64 ERA), who has a 2.08 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander, though, is winless in those games and started that stretch with a 1-0 home loss to Oakland on May 21.Texas has provided him a combined seven runs in those five outings and gave him one in a 3-1 defeat to Toronto on Thursday. Darvish allowed one run and three hits over seven innings while striking out nine and avoiding the loss."Some games you get a lot of run support, and some games you don't. My approach to the game is the same, try to minimize the damage as much as I can," Darvish told the team's website through an interpreter. "My job is to contribute to the team as much as possible and make the game as close as possible."Darvish has lost three straight starts against Oakland but has given up a combined four runs in his last two matchups, covering 13 innings. He has been given two total runs of support in those three games.Parker, meanwhile, has gotten a combined 25 runs from the A's in four career matchups with Texas. However, only one of those runs came in his most recent start against the Rangers, a 3-1 loss in Arlington on May 22.Parker (5-6, 4.45) allowed three runs over seven innings in his first career defeat to Texas. He's 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four all-time matchups.Parker is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last four overall starts but did not earn a victory Thursday for the first time since last month's loss to Texas. He yielded two runs over eight innings to the Yankees before the A's won 3-2 in 18.Parker earned a career-best four straight wins Sept. 10-Oct. 1.It's unknown if Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes will return to the outfield Tuesday. Cespedes, batting .185 against Texas this season, has spent four games at designated hitter since injuring his hamstring last Tuesday."If he can get in the outfield, then I can DH somebody else and use a little bit more of the roster," manager Bob Melvin told the team's website.Texas' Lance Berkman might return to the lineup Tuesday for the first time in three games. The 37-year-old designated hitter is batting .194 (12 for 64) with one homer and three RBIs in his last 17 contests, and might be feeling the effects of four career knee operations.