July 27, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics are in position to win another series due to a simple formula.

"Our pitching's been better, and our lineup's doing things we really haven't done in the past," Josh Reddick said after Tuesday night's 6-3 at Texas. "We're just stringing hits together, and we used the long ball effectively tonight.

"It's just about getting our lineup going one through nine and not relying on our 3-4-5 guys every night. We've got guys who can pick up this team at any given moment."

The three-game set at Texas is tied 1-1 going into the finale Wednesday night at Globe Life Park. The A's (46-55) are 8-4 since the All-Star break.

The latest victory was especially gratifying for manager Bob Melvin after Oakland lost the series opener in walk-off fashion. The bullpen finished out Tuesday's game with three shutout innings.

"That was a really good win for us coming back from a difficult game last night," he said. "There were a lot of ingredients tonight. Guys getting big outs they normally don't have to get in those situations. Good stuff tonight."

Standing in the way of an Oakland series win is Yu Darvish. The Texas right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in five starts, but is winless in two starts since returning from the disabled list on July 16.

The A's counter with lefty Sean Manaea (3-5, 4.61), who has not allowed a run in three of his four starts since being reinstated from the DL on June 29.

The American League West-leading Rangers (58-43) lost for the first time in four games, but they did receive a boost from call-up Joey Gallo. The power-hitting Gallo crushed a 448-foot home run in his first start at first base.

"I feel like I can help this team, bring some power to the team," said Gallo, who needed a police-escort to make it to the stadium on time after driving into town from Triple-A Round Rock in central Texas. "I want to stay here and I don't want to go back."

Gallo's appearance is significant on several levels. Not only does he add a much-needed power bat with Prince Fielder sidelined for the season and Shin-Soo Choo on the disabled, Gallo can be showcased on the Major League level.

With the trade deadline fast approaching, other clubs can take a closer look at the top prospect in the Texas system. Banister has made it clear that Gallo would be in the lineup.

"He's coming to play," Banister said.

Gallo, 22, has spent the majority of the year at Triple-A, compiling a batting line of .246/.381/.557/.939 (60-244) with 19 home runs and 47 RBI. He ranks fourth in the Pacific Coast League in home runs. Gallo's .939 OPS figure is seventh among all Triple-A qualifiers.

He has struck out 91 times, while walking 53 times in 70 games.

"There's still the strikeout numbers there, but home run hitters strike out," Banister said. "He's got walks. Guys with power, there's some give-and-take there. We still want guys with power potential to be aggressive in nature, too. It's the ability in those underneath-count situations to still mount a fight within the at-bat. He's shown improvement in that."

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