Athletics-Rangers Preview

ARLINGTON, Texas -- On a day when the Texas Rangers received bad news, they gained ground in the standings for the first time in nearly a month.

Texas beat the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Adrian Beltre's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth Monday night. Coupled with the Houston Astros' loss to the New York Yankees, the Rangers upped their lead in the American League West to 3 1/2 games.

The Rangers and the A's play the middle game of a three-game series Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.

Texas (58-42) hadn't increased its lead on Houston since June 26.

"It's nice. Better than staying stagnant," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Better than losing ground. The thing that we have to pay attention to is how we play our baseball game, the way we go out, how we prepare and the energy that we use on the baseball field to play the game correctly."

The victory celebration was somewhat limited after the Rangers learned earlier in the day that designated hitter Prince Fielder is likely done for the season. Fielder, who has a herniated disk in his neck, probably will undergo surgery in the next week, general manager Jon Daniels said.

Fielder last played on July 18.

"It's kind of sad to know that he's going to be out for the year and knowing how he wants to play," Beltre said after his two-homer performance. "It's tough news, but we have to get through it and find a way to be more consistent winning ballgames. Hopefully he can come back next year."

While it hasn't been the best season for Fielder, who was hitting .212 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs, his loss impacts the offense. Daniels did add that the club likely won't look to fill Fielder's loss via trade, instead electing to do it internally.

"I felt like one of the strengths on the club was the offensive depth," Daniels said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We can go to (minor-leaguer Joey Gallo) at some point if there's an opening and there are at-bats. We've still primarily been focused on the pitching side."

Fielder's career, however, could hang in the balance. The 32-year-old veteran had season-ended neck surgery in 2014 in an area just below the current injury.

"Spinal surgery is a very real deal," Daniels said. "He rehabbed once from it and came back. With each additional surgery in that area, it increases the risk involved and overall his ability to get back, but it's not for me to speculate about that today."

The A's (45-55) had their three-game winning streak snapped Monday, but they are still tied for the best record in the majors since the All-Star break at 7-4.

The Tuesday starter for Oakland is right-hander Sonny Gray, who has been mentioned as a potential trade target by Texas. Gray (4-9, 5.49 ERA) is 1-8 with a 6.45 ERA in his past 14 starts, a span that was interrupted by a stay on the disabled list from May 21-June 4 due to a strained right trapezius.

Texas is calling up Nick Martinez (1-2) from Triple-A Round Rock to make the start. The righty owns a 6.45 ERA in six games, four of them starts, over two stints with the Rangers this year.

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