The Texas Rangers have wasted an opportunity to gain ground in the American League wild-card race and look to avoid being swept when they visit the Oakland Athletics on Sunday for the finale of their three-game series. Texas began the set one game out of the second wild-card spot but dropped the first two meetings with Oakland and enter Sunday two games behind Minnesota for the berth.
Adrian Beltre has continued to produce on the Rangers’ 10-game road trip, driving in four runs over the first two contests against the Athletics after going 5-for-15 with three homers and six RBIs during a four-game set in Los Angeles versus the Angels. Texas is hoping Elvis Andrus’ bat remains hot as the shortstop went 5-for-9 over the first two meetings with Oakland. Chad Pinder recorded his second career two-homer performance Saturday and Jed Lowrie went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the Athletics’ 8-3 victory. Slugger Khris Davis has recorded three RBIs over the first two games of the series and is 12 away from matching the career high of 102 he set last season.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), NBCSN California (Oakland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH A.J. Griffin (6-4, 5.10 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Jharel Cotton (6-10, 5.63)
Griffin is coming off a loss to the Chicago White Sox last Sunday in which he gave up three runs on six hits and three walks over five innings. Since throwing his first complete game since 2013 on May 9 at San Diego, the 29-year-old Californian has worked more than five frames just once in seven outings. Griffin, who spent the first two seasons of his career with Oakland, is 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA in three starts against his former team this year.
Cotton halted his five-start winless streak last Sunday, allowing two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings at Houston en route to his first triumph since June 23. It was the longest outing for the 25-year-old Virgin Islander since April 10, when he worked a season-high seven frames at Kansas City in his second turn of the year. Cotton fell to 1-1 in two career starts against Texas when he yielded five runs on five hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings on April 17.
1. Rangers OF Carlos Gomez (shoulder) was activated from the disabled list Saturday and went 0-for-3 while being hit by a pitch.
2. Oakland OF Boog Powell, who drew a walk in his only plate appearance on Saturday, has reached base via hit or walk in 10 of his 12 games since being acquired from Seattle.
3. Texas acquired RHP Paolo Espino from Milwaukee for cash and assigned him, along with 2B Phil Gosselin, to Triple-A Round Rock while also designating RHP Tanner Scheppers for assignment.
PREDICTION: Rangers 7, Athletics 2