Rangers-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

After slowing the Texas Rangers' momentum, the Oakland Athletics will seek to win their pivotal AL West series with help from A.J. Griffin.

The right-hander will try to produce another strong outing against Texas and help the A's push their lead over the Rangers to 4 1/2 games after Sunday's finale.

Trailing by six games after last weekend, Texas (61-50) had a chance to pull within 1 1/2 with a season-high sixth straight win Saturday. Instead, the Athletics snapped their three-game slide with a 4-2 victory.

Yoenis Cespedes' home run - only his second since June 21 - highlighted a three-run first inning for Oakland (64-46).

"You've got to do what you've got to do to win a game. We were fortunate enough to string together at-bats and come away with the win," catcher Stephen Vogt told the team's website. "I think any time you can go out and get a win against a team like that ... it's going to be a good boost for you as a team. Our goal is to have good at-bats, quality at-bats, and hopefully we can continue to do that."

Griffin (10-7, 3.90 ERA) will try to deliver another key victory for the A's while earning his sixth win in seven decisions. He picked up his second in as many starts Monday against Toronto despite having trouble keeping the ball in the park once more.

Griffin gave up three home runs, which accounted for all of the Blue Jays' four runs over his seven innings, in a 9-4 victory. The 26 homers he's allowed are the most in the majors, and he's given up eight in the past three games.

He has given up a home run in each of his two starts against Texas this season but little else. Griffin is 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in those matchups, including a 5-1 home win May 13.

Derek Holland (8-6, 3.18) will try to avoid a third straight loss by continuing his success on the road. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last eight starts away from home but did not get a decision in a 6-5 win in Oakland on May 14.

Holland allowed four runs over 5 2-3 innings in that game after going 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his previous seven matchups.

"They are all big games from here on out," he told the team's website. "We're chasing Oakland. Obviously every game counts, but these are big games. It's a chance to gain ground, a turning point, and take off from there."

Holland has a 3.80 ERA in his last three overall outings and got a combined one run of support in his first two during that stretch.

He got six Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels but did not get a decision in a wild 14-11 victory in 10 innings. Holland gave up four runs over six innings with three of those coming on a pair of home runs.

He's given up 11 homers this season but five in the last six games.

The recently acquired Alberto Callaspo is 12 for 35 (.343) with five doubles and a home run lifetime against Holland. Josh Donaldson has five hits in his last six at-bats, including two doubles and a home run.

The Rangers' Elvis Andrus, riding a career-high 16-game hit streak, is 1 for 9 with three strikeouts against Griffin in his career.

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