Athletics-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Yu Darvish hasn't lost since he faced Oakland last month, and his manager believes the Athletics will see a different pitcher than the one they saw in that outing.

The Japanese right-hander seeks his eighth win in as many home starts Sunday night when the Texas Rangers seek a sixth straight victory and a four-game sweep of Oakland.

Darvish (10-4, 3.57 ERA) is 3-0 with 29 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA in three outings since he gave up six runs and struck out four over 5 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss at Oakland (37-42) on June 7. He fell to 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against the Athletics.

"They can be damn sure it's not going to be the Darvish they saw in Oakland," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "It's not going to be that Darvish. I don't know what the results are going to be but they won't see that Darvish."

Darvish claimed Friday that he didn't deserve to be on the All-Star team, but his 10 victories lead all rookies and he's 7-0 with a 3.45 ERA in his first seven home outings. AL manager Washington has decided on the team, which will be announced Sunday.

Darvish realizes his 50 walks and a walks-per-nine inning ratio of 4.70 both rank among the worst marks in baseball.

"Whether I'm not leading anymore, still I'm giving up more walks than I should," he said through a translator. "That's something that I'm going to improve on in the future."

The top of Oakland's lineup should present a challenge since Coco Crisp is 2 for 3 with a homer off Darvish, and Jemile Weeks is 3 for 6 with two walks against him.

Texas (50-29) became the first team to reach 50 victories with Saturday's 7-2 win, its 17th in 21 games.

Josh Hamilton homered and drove in four runs to lead the Rangers. He is 7 for 22 with three homers and nine RBIs over his last six games after hitting .211 during an 11-game homerless drought.

"I'm doing absolutely nothing differently,'' Hamilton said. "It's just baseball. You go through spurts like that."

Oakland committed two errors in the fifth inning Saturday that led to five unearned runs, including a miscue from shortstop Brandon Hicks right before Hamilton homered.

"You can't do that here," manager Bob Melvin said. "With that lineup and in this park, you can't give them freebies."

A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes continues to tear up Texas pitching. He's 13 for 24 with seven RBIs while hitting safely in all seven matchups in which he's appeared between the clubs.

Oakland first baseman Chris Carter has hit solo homers in each of the last two games since being called up from the minors, going 3 for 7 with four runs scored.

A's starter Travis Blackley (1-2, 3.05) is 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in seven career road starts, including 0-1 despite a 3.24 ERA in three this year. He gave up two runs over seven innings Tuesday and did not receive a decision in a 3-2 defeat at Seattle.

The left-hander won his big-league debut in 2004 against the Rangers, while with the Mariners. He didn't fare as well June 5 in a 6-3 home loss to Texas, yielding five runs over 4 2-3 innings.

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