Athletics-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

The Texas Rangers will have to wait at least another day to clinch a third straight trip to the postseason, but Oakland Athletics starter Jarrod Parker hopes to help delay the celebration even longer.

Parker seeks another stellar outing against Texas as Oakland attempts to bolster its own playoff chances Wednesday night in Arlington.

George Kottaras homered leading off the 10th inning to help the A's beat the Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday, pulling Oakland to within four games of the AL West leaders and keeping Texas from clinching at least a wild-card berth.

''It's an exciting feeling to be in this position,'' Kottaras said. ''All we can do is control how we play."

Oakland (87-67), which also got a solo homer from Chris Carter, remained two games ahead of Los Angeles for the league's second wild card after the Angels beat Seattle 5-4 later Tuesday.

''Each and every win has a little bit more magnitude to it, especially against a team that's above you,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''This team's responded like this many, many times this year. It doesn't surprise me.''

Parker (11-8, 3.40 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise this season, and he'll look to continue his hot stretch in his second outing versus the Rangers.

The rookie has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts, going 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in that span. He gave up one run and struck out seven in eight innings Friday before the A's fell to the Yankees 2-1 in 10.

"I think he feels like he's no longer a rookie with the way he's pitched this time of the year," Melvin told the team's official website. "He pitched really good."

The right-hander was dominant in his only start versus Texas. Michael Young's single leading off the eighth inning was the only hit Parker allowed in Oakland's 12-1 victory June 4.

''He made it through some pretty good hitters," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after that contest. "You have to tip your hat to him. He did a good job against us.''

Texas' Nos. 1-4 hitters combined for six hits Tuesday, but the rest of the order went 1 for 18 with five strikeouts. Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus had two hits apiece.

"This is the time of the year where everybody is playing for the postseason, and we expect all these games to be tight games," Young told the team's official website. "That's what makes them so fun."

The Rangers will get another chance to secure a playoff spot when they send Martin Perez to the mound Wednesday.

Perez (1-2, 3.78) will be making his fifth start after giving up four runs - three earned - in four innings of Friday's 6-3 loss to Seattle. The rookie left-hander picked up his first major league victory June 30, beating the A's 7-2 after allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings.

Perez has a 3.38 ERA as a starter, and he may hope the struggling Josh Reddick is in Oakland's lineup for this contest.

Reddick didn't start Tuesday but lined out while pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes in the eighth inning. He's mired in a 0-for-28 slump, dropping his average to .242 despite leading the team with 29 homers and 79 RBIs.

Oakland and Texas have split 14 meetings this season and will play five of their remaining eight games against each other.

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