(10) hit a two-run homer to help Oakland bash Texas on Wednesday. (Jeff Chiu/AP)
The A's beat the Rangers, 11-4, on Wednesday afternoon to take two out of three of their final head-to-head meeting in Oakland during the regular season and once again tie up the American League West with just 23 games remaining in the season. The win puts the A's in a great position: The final series between these two teams, which starts a week from Friday in Texas, marks their only remaining games this season against a winning team. The Rangers, meanwhile, have seven games remaining against the Pirates and Rays in addition to those three against the A's. What's more, the A's head into that soft final part of their schedule having just gone 8-2 against playoff-quality competition, taking three of four from the Tigers in Detroit, sweeping the Rays, and taking two of three from the Rangers this week.
As for this game, the A's got out to an early 2-0 lead on Darvish via a two-run Brandon Moss homer in the first. Darvish, who tied a career high with six walks, was driven from the game by a Daric Barton home run that made it 5-2 before he could record an out in the sixth. Josh Donaldson hit a three-run shot off reliever Robbie Ross later that inning, and in the eighth, Coco Crisp, who delivered an RBI single off Ross prior to Donaldson's homer, added a two-run homer of his own.
Crisp now has eight home runs in his last 14 games, leading the majors over that span, and Moss has eight home runs in his last 13 starts stretching back over the last 16 games. Finally, Oakland's starter in that game, Jarrod Parker
, turned in his seventh straight quality start and has now gone 10-1 with a 2.66 ERA over his last 21 starts, all but two of which have been quality, one of those due to an injury that forced his removal after 3 2/3 scoreless innings. The division may be tied, but the A's are clearly in the driver's seat.