Rangers start up road trip versus Athletics

    9:03 AM, Aug 12, 2011   |    comments
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    (Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers hope to maintain their slim lead atop the American League West standings when they begin a 10-game road trip with the first of three straight games against the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum.

    Texas is two games ahead of the LA Angels of Anaheim and will also visit the Angels and White Sox on this swing. It had won three straight and five of six games before being denied a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with Wednesday's 4-3 loss in Arlington.

    Derek Holland started for the Rangers and allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six innings of work. Koji Uehara, however, allowed the go- ahead run in the seventh inning to suffer the loss for the Rangers, who went 4-2 on their six-game homestand.

    "The Mariners put together an inning," said Rangers infielder Ian Kinsler said. "That's a big league team over there. They're very capable of winning game just like we are. Tonight it just didn't go our way."

    Kinsler hit a two-run homer and Josh Hamilton went deep in defeat. Michael Young has hit safely in 10 consecutive games and 18 of his past 19, hitting .395 over that span.

    Despite not enjoying the confines of the Coliseum, Rangers All-Star pitcher C.J. Wilson has the honor of opening the set on the mound. Wilson vehemently discussed his feeling for pitching in that particular area of the Bay.

    "I hate pitching there," Wilson said on the team's site. "The mound [stinks]. The fans [stink]. There are no fans there. It's too bad, because the fans that are there are really adamant and stoked on the team. They play drums and they wave flags, and it's cool. But some games you go there and there are, like, 6,000 people there. It's kind of sad, because that's a Major League team, and there are guys out there that are obviously pretty good players."

    Wilson defeated Oakland on July 8 this season at home, but is only 3-5 with a 4.50 earned run average in 34 career games, five of which have been starts, in this series. He is 0-2 in his previous four trips to the mound and did not record a decision in Saturday's 7-5 loss versus Cleveland, as he was reached for three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

    The left-hander is 10-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 24 starts and 5-4 in 12 road assignments. Wilson ranks among the AL leaders in strikeouts, innings and winning percentage.

    Oakland just went 4-5 on a nine-game road trip and ended the trek with four wins in the last five contests. It won two of three games in Toronto and closed out the series with Thursday's 10-3 pounding of the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

    Conor Jackson tripled and finished with three RBI, Hideki Matsui collected four hits, two runs scored and a pair of runs batted in and Cliff Pennington recorded two RBI for the A's, who will begin a 10-game residency Friday versus the Rangers, Orioles and Blue Jays.

    Guillermo Moscoso tossed six strong innings, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and two walks while striking out six for the win.

    "I did a pretty good job and the guys did a pretty good job as well. They hit the ball well and gave me some support," Moscoso said. "I tried to take advantage of it by getting ahead in the counts and getting quick outs."

    Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp, who hasn't played since Saturday, sat out another game with a sore right calf and could land on the disabled list.

    Brandon McCarthy is 4-0 over his last five starts -- all Oakland wins -- and gets the nod tonight. He threw eight shutout innings and allowed five hits in Saturday's 8-0 win at Tampa Bay, lifting his season record to 5-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts.

    McCarthy, a right-hander, did not record a decision against Texas in a 7-6 loss on July 9, when he was hit for five runs -- four earned -- in six innings. He is only 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA in six games (4 starts) lifetime in this matchup.

    Texas has won five straight and six of 10 meetings with Oakland this season, including a 5-1 record at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

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