Mark Mulder is happy to be back pitching at Network Associates Coliseum.
Mulder, is looking to become the fourth pitcher in the American League with 10 victories, is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA at home this season. He ended a two-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over Montreal on Friday. Mulder had made his previous three starts on the road.
“I didn’t have any problems my last couple of starts, I just didn’t pitch well,” he said. “I made one too many mistakes over the plate for hits tonight but we scored some runs early and that was good enough.”
Oakland rallied for its fifth consecutive win Wednesday, beating Texas 4-3 in 11 innings. The Athletics tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on Scott Hatteberg’s sacrifice fly, and won it on Hatteberg’s RBI single in the 11th.
Texas hopes left-hander Mario Ramos, who will be making his major league debut against Mulder and Oakland, can stop its 11-game road skid.
“We’ll see if he can do it here,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s a tough kid mentally. He’s been at some levels that he’s mastered.”
The Rangers have dropped 15 of 17 overall.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 20 1/2 GB, AL West. Athletics - 2nd place, 7 1/2 GB, AL West.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ramos (no appearances). The left-hander was 6-5 with a 3.32 ERA at Double-A Frisco this season. He also pitched for Triple-A Oklahoma.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Mulder (9-4, 3.31 ERA). The 25-year-old left-hander is 2-0 this season against the Rangers, though he’s allowed six runs and 14 hits in 12 innings. He is 7-4 with 4.79 ERA in 13 career starts against them.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Hank Blalock, .332 avg.; Juan Gonzalez, 18 HRs and 50 RBIs; Carl Everett, 50 runs; Alex Rodriguez, 7 SBs. Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .327 avg. and 6 SBs; Eric Chavez, 12 HRs; Erubiel Durazo, 40 RBIs and 39 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 6-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - SS Rodriguez ended a 13-game RBI drought with a home run Wednesday. … OF Gonzalez is 9-for-21 (.429) with two HRs in his career against Mulder. … Texas is 6-14 in one-run games. Athletics - SS Miguel Tejada is 4-for-35 during this 12-game homestand and is batting .219 this season. … LHP Mulder is holding opposing batters to a .206 average at home, as opposed to a .315 mark away from the Coliseum. … 1B Hatteberg, a career .335 hitter against Texas, is batting .548 with 12 RBIs in eight games against the Rangers this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 11-24 on the road; Athletics - 25-10 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Joaquin Benoit (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL. Athletics - LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 15-day DL.