The red-hot Oakland Athletics have been putting a damper on the Texas Rangers’ postseason hopes and look to continue playing spoiler when they host the finale of their three-game set on Sunday. Texas entered the series 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the American League but has fallen 4 1/2 back with eight remaining following two straight losses.
The Rangers dropped a 4-1 decision in the series opener and managed just four singles in Saturday’s 1-0 setback as they fell to 4-4 on their nine-game road trip. Carlos Gomez recorded one of the base hits and is 4-for-10 in three contests after missing some time with an ankle injury. Oakland extended its winning streak to six games with Saturday’s triumph and has captured seven in a row at home. Khris Davis went deep in the victory to reach the 40-homer plateau for the second consecutive season, joining Jimmie Foxx (1932-34) as the only players in franchise history to do so, and set a career high with his 103rd RBI of the year.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), NBCSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Martin Perez (12-11, 4.70 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Jharel Cotton (8-10, 5.81)
Perez won seven consecutive starts before a pair of outings against Seattle that resulted in a home loss and a no-decision on the road. The 26-year-old Venezuelan allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in the setback on Sept. 13 but was much better at Seattle on Tuesday, when he gave up just one run and four hits over 6 1/3 frames. Perez split two turns against Oakland in April and is 6-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 14 career starts.
Cotton is ready to make his first start since Sept. 13 as he was scratched from his previously scheduled outing due to a groin strain. The 25-year-old Virgin Islander recorded a victory in his most recent turn despite allowing three runs and six hits in five innings at Boston. Cotton had one of his best performances of the year against Texas on Aug. 27, when he gave up two runs - one earned - and four hits while matching a season high with nine strikeouts over six frames to improve to 2-1 in three career outings versus the club.
1. The Athletics, who have won 13 of their last 16 overall games, still play five of their final eight games against Texas.
2. Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele will serve as interim manager for a second straight game as Jeff Banister flew home to Texas to be with his ailing mother.
3. Oakland LHP Sean Manaea was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday due to tightness in his upper back and also could miss his next turn.
PREDICTION: Rangers 8, Athletics 3