One day after securing their second straight division title, the Oakland Athletics turn to Tim Hudson as they face the Texas Rangers in the finale of a three-game series at Network Associates Coliseum.
The A’s beat the Rangers 4-3 Tuesday on a game-winning single by Adam Melhuse.
“I hope you guys are ready for us to do something we haven’t done the last couple years, and that’s win a championship,” Hudson said. “Maybe this is the year we stumble to the finish line and win it all.”
The A’s are 3 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
“Those guys put on an exhibition tonight on how to win a game,” Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez said.
Hudson gave up four earned runs and eight hits in six innings of Friday’s 6-1 loss to Seattle—his third setback in four decisions following a seven-game winning streak.
“He had a high pitch count after the first inning and never had an inning where he had a breather,” A’s manager Ken Macha said.
Over his last four starts, Hudson, who is trying for his 80th career win, is 1-3 with a 5.96 ERA. During his winning streak, a span of eight starts, he posted a 1.34 ERA.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 4th place, 25 GB, AL West. Athletics - 1st place, AL West.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joaquin Benoit (8-5, 5.52 ERA). Benoit gave up just one hit in four scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 2-1 win over Seattle on Thursday, but was pulled after a 1-hour, 40-minute rain delay. The right-hander, who last won on Aug. 16, has won his last three decisions. He made his only career start against the Athletics on Sept. 29, 2002, and gave up eight earned runs and six hits over 3 1-3 innings in an 8-7 loss.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Hudson (15-7, 2.74 ERA). Hudson is 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 11 career starts against the Rangers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rangers - Michael Young, .310 avg.; Rodriguez, 47 HRs, 117 RBIs, 122 runs and 16 SBs. Athletics - Chavez, .282 avg. and 28 HRs; Miguel Tejada, 105 RBIs and 96 runs; Tejada and Eric Byrnes, 10 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Athletics, 14-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rangers - 2B Young’s leadoff single Tuesday was his 200th hit of the season. … OF Laynce Nix, who has a deep bone bruise on his right shin after fouling a ball off his leg Monday night, is using crutches and doesn’t expect to play again this season. … 1B-DH Rafael Palmeiro has not missed a game, but has been playing with irritated intercostal muscles—the muscles between the ribs—since a collision at home plate with Anaheim C Jose Molina on Saturday. Athletics - 1B-DH Durazo also had four hits against Philadelphia on May 17, 2002. … The A’s will host Games 1 and 2 of the AL division series next week, either on Tuesday and Thursday or Wednesday and Thursday. Times have not been determined. … OF Jose Guillen, who missed a week with an injured right hand before returning on Sunday, was given a rest on Tuesday. Macha said he would probably be back Wednesday.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 27-50 on the road; Athletics - 56-24 at home.
INJURIES: Rangers - INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 60-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (back), 60-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Nix (shin), day-to-day. Athletics - LHP Mark Mulder (leg), 15-day DL; LHP Micah Bowie (elbow), 60-day DL.