Oakland (87-64) at Texas (84-67)

Fair Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 23, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Texas Rangers are making their move in the AL West.

They’ll try to pull within two games of first-place Oakland as they shoot for a three-game sweep of the Athletics at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

Though they’re still third in the West, a half-game behind second-place Anaheim, the Rangers have won four straight to climb within three games of Oakland.

Playing the A’s for the last time this season, the Rangers have 10 games remaining after Thursday’s series finale, including six against Seattle and four at home against the Angels.

Texas has won nine of its last 12 overall, with four wins against the A’s in that span. The teams split four games in Oakland last week.

On Wednesday, Kenny Rogers matched a career high with his 17th win and Eric Young hit his first homer in more than a year, a three-run tiebreaking shot, to lead the Rangers to a 5-3 win.

“E-Y’s timing couldn’t have been better,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He told us he’d been saving one.”

The Rangers started the series by beating Mark Mulder for the second time in a week and third time this season with a 9-4 thumping.

“Two out of three is nice, but now that we’ve got the chance, we really need to win to make the first two days worth it,” Rogers said

Completing the sweep, though, will be tough feat for the Rangers, considering the pitching matchup.

The Rangers will send struggling righty Chan Ho Park to the hill against Tim Hudson, who has won four of five decisions.

Park has been hit hard in his last three starts, allowing at least five runs in each outing, including Friday’s 9-5 loss to the Angels. The 31-year-old right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings, leaving him at 2-3 with a 6.14 ERA in five starts since coming off the disabled list Aug. 26.

In eight career starts against Oakland, Park is 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA.

Hudson is coming off a 7-4 win at Seattle on Saturday, giving up three runs and eight hits while going eight innings for a second straight start.

The A’s have won just six of their last 15 games, and will begin a critical three-game set with the Angels on Friday.

“We’ve been leading, but the Rangers haven’t died off,” A’s center fielder Mark Kotsay said. “They still have an opportunity. We knew we’d be beating each other up in the division and it’s come true.”

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Starting Pitchers

T. Hudson SF vs. C. Park Pit
12-6 Record 4-7
3.53 ERA 5.46
103 K 63
44 BB 33
1.26 WHIP 1.44