September 23, 2017 / 5:26 AM / in 3 months

Preview: Rangers at Athletics

The Texas Rangers apparently are planning to make the race for the second wild card in the American League a fight to the finish. Texas brings a four-game winning streak into its three-game series against the host Oakland Athletics, which begins on Friday, and sits 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the wild-card spot.

The Rangers, who had lost five in a row and seven of eight before topping the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, posted a 4-2 triumph at Seattle on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep and improve them to 4-2 on their nine-game road trip. Carlos Gomez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 9 and paid immediate dividends, going 2-for-3 with a two-run double. Texas plays seven of its final 10 games against Oakland, which is kicking off its last homestand of the season. The Athletics also are on a roll, as they completed a 6-3 road trip with four consecutive victories - including three straight at Detroit.

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), NBCSN California (Oakland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Nick Martinez (3-6, 5.47 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.39)

Martinez returned to the rotation last Friday after making a pair of relief appearances and escaped Los Angeles with a no-decision after surrendering four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels. It was the first start for the 27-year-old Floridian since Aug. 31 at Houston and kept him winless in nine appearances (five starts) since defeating the Yankees in New York on June 25. Martinez is 0-1 in two turns versus Oakland this year but 4-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 13 career games (nine starts).

Graveman will be well-rested as his start in Philadelphia on Saturday lasted only two innings due to a lengthy rain delay. The 26-year-old native of Alabama worked six frames in his previous outing on Sept. 10, when he limited Houston to one run and five hits en route to victory. Graveman is 2-0 in three turns against Texas this season, allowing one run over seven innings in each of the wins.

WALK-OFFS

1. Athletics OF Khris Davis is one home run away from joining Jimmie Foxx (1932-34) as the only players in franchise history to record back-to-back 40-homer seasons.

2. Rangers DH Adrian Beltre hit his 462nd career shot on Thursday, tying Miguel Cabrera, Jose Canseco and Adam Dunn for 35th place on the all-time list.

3. Oakland 1B/OF Matt Olson has belted 23 home runs in his first 67 major-league games and recently went deep in five consecutive games (Sept. 15-19) - both franchise rookie records.

PREDICTION: Athletics 5, Rangers 3

0 : 0
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